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Sit-lie, urination bills get preliminary Council approval

By Gordon Y.K. Pang

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LAST UPDATED: 10:49 a.m. HST, Jul 10, 2014


Measures designed to prohibit lying and sitting on city sidewalks as well as urinating and defecating in public continue to move through the Honolulu City Council.

Three "sit-lie" measures and two urination-defecation bills were given preliminary approvals by the Council on Wednesday and sent back to the Zoning and Planning Committee for further work:

>> Bill 42, which outlaws lying and sitting on sidewalks in the Waikiki Special District -- between Ala Wai Canal and Kapahulu Avenue -- advanced 7-2. Council members Breene Harimoto and Kymberly Pine voted against the bill, arguing that the Council should wait to see the impact of about $54.9 million in this year's budget aimed at providing permanent housing and services for those who are homeless or are in lower income brackets. Councilman Joey Manahan voted yes, citing reservations.

>> Bill 43, banning urinating and defecating in public areas in the Waikiki Special District, advanced 9-0. 

>> Bill 45, prohibiting lying and sitting on sidewalks throughout Oahu, advanced 7-2. Manahan joined Harimoto in voting no while members Ron Menor and Stanley Chang voted yes with reservations. Pine later said she had intended to vote no but mistakenly voted yes due to a staff error.

>> Bill 46, barring urination and defecation in public areas islandwide, advanced 7-2. Harimoto and Pine voted no. Pine later said she had intended to vote yes.

>> Bill 48, implementing a "sit-lie" ban in areas zoned for commercial and business only islandwide, and only from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily rather than 24 hours, advanced 9-0. Unlike the four other bills that received second reading approval, Bill 48 received only the first of three approvals. 

As at previous meetings, the sit-lie bills generated the most heated debate. Advocates for the homeless testified that the bills were inhumane and amounted to a criminalizing of living without a roof. Bill supporters spoke of the need to clear Oahu sidewalks for the benefit of pedestrians, with Waikiki business leaders arguing that the growing numbers of people blocking sidewalks are hindering commerce and discouraging visitors from coming here.






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