H. Doug Matsuoka's notes in the margin of the Big Everything.

3.18.2014

HB2409, a bill criminalizing homelessness makes lying down at bus stop disorderly conduct

Up for hearing at the Big House (aka Hawaii State Capitol) on Wednesday morning at 10am in room 016 downstairs, is HB2409 Relating to Disorderly Conduct. It's yet another bill criminalizing homelessness, but this one really takes the cake. It makes lying down at a bus shelter Disorderly Conduct and subject to a $50 fine. Of course, if you have to lie down at a bus shelter you don't have $50. You just continue to get cited until you get pulled in for outstanding citations and then you are processed by the criminal justice system whch then has no choice but to put you in jail. Introducing this is about as low as you can get and credit where it's due, Representative Karl Rhoads gets the mention here.

My testimony, which I reproduce below, requests criminalizing the introduction of these kinds of bills.

Every legislative session one sees a number of really bizarro bills introduced. Aside from wasting a tremendous amount to time and (public) money to introduce and hear them, it also makes one ask, WTF? A friend has the theory that legislators have constituents who are basically loud and fearsome tita's who badger their legislators into drafting and introducing these absurdities. Is this the case with HB2409?

HB2409 proposes some simple changes to Hawaii Revised Statute on the definition of the crime of Disorderly Conduct. That's the crime of yelling and screaming, threatening and cussing, picking fights, and of course, asking to talk to the Mayor when he's at the park when he wants to ignore you. But that's a whole other story.

One who acts "with intent to cause physical inconvenience or alarm" or "recklessly creating a risk thereof…" and engages in the aforementioned behavior is guilty of disorderly conduct. To that, HB2409 proposes to the add one who "Lies down at a bus stop shelter or other bus stop structure." Perhaps the act of lying down itself exhibits "an intent to cause physical inconvenience or alarm"? Or maybe HB2409 is an ad hoc and ill conceived bill kludged together to appease some loud but unreasonably influential tita like my friend thinks is the case?

Hearing is tomorrow so you can submit "late" testimony or just show up (Wednesday, 3/19 10am room 016 at the Big House)

Anyway, here's my testimony on the next page: