A bill expanding the city’s sit-lie ordinance into downtown Honolulu and 14 other business districts throughout Oahu will be signed by Mayor Kirk Caldwell on Tuesday morning, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser has learned.
Tuesday is the deadline for him to act on Bill 48, which was approved 7-2 by the Honolulu City Council on Nov. 14.
Under the bill, people would be barred from sitting or lying down along public sidewalks from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily in specified boundaries in Chinatown, downtown Honolulu, McCully Moiliili, Kailua, Wahiawa, Ala Moana-Sheridan, Pawaa, two sections of Kaneohe, Waimanalo, Kapahulu, Waialae, Kahala, Aina Haina and Niu Valley and Hawaii Kai.
A law that went into effect in September bans sitting and lying on public sidewalks in Waikiki 24 hours a day.
Sit-lie laws have been debated both here and on the mainland largely because, while implicitly designed to apply to everyone, most of those who lay and sit on sidewalks are considered homeless.
Supporters argue that the number of those camping on sidewalks in commercial neighborhoods have reached a point where pedestrians cannot travel safely, and are being discouraged from entering the storefronts of businesses. Opponents, however, say sit-lie ordinances make it criminal for people to be homeless while there is no evidence showing they improve customer traffic.
Even the bill’s original author, Councilman Ron Menor, raised grave concerns about the measure’s constitutionality as more and more new areas were included in the bill as it advanced through the Council.
Opponents have urged Caldwell to veto the bill. If he did, a Council override would require six votes from its nine members.
To see the final language of the bill and the maps showing the specific locations, go to http://bit.ly/Bill48FD1.