The USA Today reports that Hawaii is advancing new legislation (SB3243) to protect state and local elections from foreign-influenced corporations:

State Senator Chris Lee, the bill’s sponsor, says the bill is “basically a mechanism to ensure that foreign influence doesn’t penetrate our elections in Hawaii.”

“We have a lot of foreign activity in Hawaii being out here in the middle of the Pacific,” Lee told USA Today. “So there is definitely an interest in ensuring that whatever happens outside our borders doesn’t influence and ultimately decide what happens here.”

The Center for American Progress found that most U.S. companies on the S&P 500, including Apple, Amazon and Google, would be covered under foreign influence bans with 1-5% thresholds if the law goes into effect.

On February 23, the Hawaii Senate Judiciary Committee passed SB3243 with unanimous support. 

The policy grows from model legislation developed by Free Speech For People, a national nonpartisan non-profit organization that works to renew our democracy and to limit the influence of money in our elections. Free Speech For People helped to pass similar legislation in Minnesota in 2023 as well as San Jose, California in 2024 and Seattle, Washington in 2020. Additional bills are under consideration in New York, as well as in the U.S. Congress. 

Read the full article on USA Today