The House Committee on Labor and Public Employment on Thursday passed House Bill 2678, which requires forfeiture of a state or county officer’s or employee’s compensation and fringe benefits when they have been convicted of a felony committed in the course of their work.

The forfeiture would include compensation paid, and vacation and sick leave accrued.

Opening Day of 2020 Legislature Speaker of the House Scott Saiki during press conference.
House Speaker Scott Saiki during a press conference on opening day of the 2020 Legislature. He is the author of a bill to take paid benefits away from government workers convicted of felonies. Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2020

“Investigations into public corruption are particularly troublesome because of the appearance of impropriety when an elected or appointed officer or employee who is suspected of criminal conduct continues to serve in their official capacity,” the bill explains.

It adds: “Even more troublesome is the fact that a suspected government officer or employee is able to collect their full salary and benefits while the target of a criminal investigation and is allowed to keep these benefits even upon conviction of the criminal offense of which they were suspected.”

HB 2678, introduced by House Speaker Scott Saiki, now awaits a hearing in the House Finance Committee.

Read Civil Beat’s related story, “Why Corrupt Public Employees In Hawaii Keep Their Pensions.”

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