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House Speaker Saiki Comments on Complaints Against Souki

February 1, 2018, 1:00 PM HST
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House Speaker Emeritus Joe Souki. Courtesy photo.

House of Representatives Speaker Scott K. Saiki released the following statement about the sexual harassment complaint filed against Speaker Emeritus Joseph M. Souki.

“The House of Representatives takes matters of workplace harassment very seriously. In 2017, the House instituted a mandatory annual workplace harassment training for all House members and permanent employees (previously, the training had occurred every two years). At the training, employees are advised to report complaints to the House Chief Clerk.”

“It my understanding that the Ethics Commission is currently investigating this matter. We will await the Ethics Commission’s findings and recommendations before deciding any course of action.”

The procedure for the Ethics Commission is found in HRS §84-32 and is summarized as follows:

The Ethics Commission is authorized to receive complaints against legislators.
After conducting a hearing, if the Ethics Commission determines that there is “sufficient cause” to file a complaint against a legislator, it shall issue a complaint and refer the matter to the appropriate body of the Legislature.
The complaint shall contain a statement of the facts alleged to constitute the violation.
The complaint is public record.
The legislative body must take appropriate disciplinary action unless it determines otherwise.
The legislative body must notify the Ethics Commission of the action taken within 30 days of the referral of the complaint. (Days in which the Legislature is not in session are not included in the 30 days.)
The legislative body’s action or non-action is public record.

House Rules provide for a Standards of Conduct Committee (SCC). The SCC has jurisdiction to hear and determine complaints against House members for improper conduct. The SCC may make these determinations:

Dismissal of the complaint;
Public or private letter of admonition;
Recommend to the House these remedies: expulsion, censure, payment of restitution, committee reassignment, and/or reprimand.

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(Rules for the Select Committee on Standards of Conduct, Parts 4 and 6)

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