HONOLULU (KHON2) — The cases of English and Cullen could be the first test of the new pension forfeiture law passed at the capitol last year.

After years of failing to get the anti-corruption measure passed, a law finally made it through last summer. But it only takes half of certain portions of public pensions for felons. The law has all sorts of hoops and exclusions.

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A new felony forfeiture law sounds tough. Commit a felony as a state or county officials, and pay with more than just your reputation or time behind bars. Say goodbye to part of your pension.

“For years, there had been a strong effort to pass a bill that restricted, restricted or eliminated pensions for those who committed crimes while in office or for government employees in general,” said Sen. Karl Rhoads, Senate Judiciary Chairman.

That effort dated back to at least 2014, and the ball just never got into the end zone.

Fury over the Kealoha corruption scandal was enough of a nudge but the end result? Half, not full, pension forfeiture.

Lawmakers tell me it’s the most they could get consensus on.

“Last year, we took half a loaf, and hopefully we can take more of the loaf later,” said Rhoads.

“There should be stricter penalties for people who get convicted of these felonies where it’s not half, maybe we should take it all the way,” said Rep. Val Okimoto, House Minority Leader.

Even at half, whether anything gets confiscated depends.

First, there’s a date issue. tt only applies to crimes committed after the law was signed.

Only Cullen’s charging document alleges improprieties after June 2021.

The feds say English’s scheme lasted until the January before the new law.

Then there are the technicalities.

The ERS director tells Always Investigating “The ERS only commences forfeiture of a members’ pension or other benefit upon receipt of a court decree ordering the same To date, we haven’t received any such decrees.”

Even if filed “Anything that had vested before this went into effect, they would be eligible for,” said Rhoads. “The part that they might not be eligible for is that little increment between whenever the date that is determined to be the date. So it may be that it’s way less than half, maybe half of a tiny percentage, because of when the law passed.”

Several states have more strict pension forfeiture laws, taking more with fewer exclusions. Even lawmakers themselves knew when passing last year’s law there was a lot more {snip merit consideration} to circle back on like misdeameanors and more crimes covering theft and corruption.

“I think if anything, the maddening events having to do with our two former colleagues will bring a lot of impetus to go as far as we can on this issue,” said Rhoads.

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“With a slew of federal indictments on our county officials, now our state officials, this needs to really be addressed,” said Okimoto. “Obviously, there’s something that needs to be stricter. Because with what we have in place right now, it seems to not really deter or address this type of behavior from happening.”