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Lawmakers advance bill to deter sleeping at bus stops

  • STAR-ADVERTISER / SEPT. 12, 1999
    A woman known only as "Princess" slept on the bus stop bench on the median at the Honolulu International Airport.

Lying down and obstructing a bus stop would become a form of disorderly conduct under a bill the Hawaii House of Representatives has passed.

The misdemeanor could result in a $50 fine.

The measure is aimed at keeping bus stops clear for travelers. But in pointed debate on the House floor this week, lawmakers argued that it could punish homeless people scrounging for shelter.

Lawmakers called the measure hypocritical to pass while they are also advancing a Homeless Bill of Rights that would define and protect the civil rights of homeless people. Rep. Jo Jordan told her colleagues any unpaid fines could keep a person from qualifying for public housing assistance.

Hawaii has the most homeless people per capita among U.S. states. The Senate will vote on the bill next.

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