Thursday, May 20, 2010

"No conflict in vote on leasehold bill"

The Honolulu Advertiser printed Speaker Calvin Say's letter today in response to David Shapiro's Volcanic Ash column on May 17.

"This responds to David Shapiro's column concerning leasehold legislation entitled: "Lawmakers interfering in private business".

First, I have not attempted to hide my affiliation with "Tokyo Bento Nichiyo". My financial interest disclosure form filed with the State Ethics Commission clearly identifies the company as an income source for me.

Second, I do not have a conflict of interest regarding the leasehold legislation under House Rule 60.5. Under the Rule, when a House member is among a "class" affected by legislation, there is no conflict of interest. Since I am part of a "class" of 180 tenants affected by the legislation, I have no conflict.

Third, the Legislature does not automatically shy away from passing legislation simply because opponents allege that it has some sort of legal problem. The Legislature weighs such allegations against counterarguments and other information before making decisions to pass the legislation or not. If subsequent to passage the legislation is challenged for legal reasons, then it is up to the court to rule on the matter.

Finally, Senate Bill 2020, which extends the leasehold legislation, serves a legitimate public purpose for business in Hawaii. It was supported by many small businesses and passed by bipartisan votes of 25 to 0 in the Senate and 41 to 10 in the House. I refer your readers to the testimony and committee reports on SB 2020 at the Legislature's website"

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