A bill that would have given Hawaii restaurant owners the choice of allowing dogs at their businesses has died at the state Legislature.
State Rep. John Mizuno introduced House Bill 681, and Sen. Mike Gabbard introduced Senate Bill 1152, proposals that would change state health codes so that a restaurant owner or manager could allow dogs in their restaurants, provided that certain conditions were met.
The Senate bill passed first reading, but went no further. An amended version of the House bill passed second reading, but was never scheduled for a hearing. The amended version gave restaurant owners the discretion of allowing dogs at outside dining areas with a separate entrance, only, rather than both inside and outside.
Stephanie Kendrick, public policy advocate for the Hawaiian Humane Society, which was pushing for the bill, said the campaign will nevertheless continue. Nine other states in the U.S. now have dog-friendly dining laws, she said, and doing so would help create a more pet-friendly community.
“The Society is grateful to all of the business owners and community advocates who supported the pet-friendly dining bill,” she said in an e-mail. “While the bill did not pass in the current session, this is by no means the end of our campaign for a more pet-friendly community. The online petition drive continues to build support and we plan to explore other options for giving restaurants the choice to welcome customers who want to dine with their canine companions.”
The online petition, which was launched before the bills were introduced, has gathered more than 3,500 signatures.
The state Health Department, Hawaii Food Industry Association and Hawaii Restaurant Association testified in opposition to the bill.