Bill to Combat Political Corruption and Other Crimes | News, Sports, Jobs
The Hawaii State Senate announced plans to advance legislation that would address fraud, white-collar crime, political corruption, and human and sex trafficking, according to a statement from press Friday afternoon.
SB 2930 SD1 would establish two new divisions within the Department of the Attorney General to deal with these crimes. The measure would allocate $834,000 to the operations of the Special Investigations and Prosecutions Unit and $754,000 to the operation of the Human and Sex Trafficking Unit.
“Working closely with the Attorney General and the Chairman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, Donovan Dela Cruz, we believe that the creation of these two divisions within the Department of the Attorney General will give the state the ability and jurisdiction to investigate the wrongdoings of persons who commit fraudulent crimes and exploit women and children,” said Senator Sharon Moriwaki, Chair of the Senate Government Operations Committee. “This measure also reinforces our commitment to ensuring that public trust in government is not undermined by those who abuse their positions of power.
The measure is heading to the Senate floor for first reading and will be referred to committee.
The announcements come as former Senate Majority Leader J. Kalani English of Maui and former House Rep. Ty Cullen of Oahu were each charged with one count of honest services wire fraud in connection with the alleged taking of thousands of dollars in bribes to influence legislation.
Also due to the declining number of COVID-19 cases statewide, the Senate is reassessing the opening of the State Capitol.
“With a rampant increase in COVID-19 cases in early January, state and legislative leaders made the decision to keep the Capitol building in close proximity to minimize the spread of COVID-19 among members, staff and other occupants of the building, noted Senate President Ronald D. Kouchi. “Earlier this week, I announced to caucus that with the decline in COVID-19 cases, Senate leadership will work with the House, the Governor, and the Department of Accounting and General Services (DAGS) to formulate a plan for reopening the Capitol. .”
The House also announced a push this week to allow the public to return to the State Capitol.