Hawaii’s homeless advocates protest Sit-Lie legislation

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Photo: Emily Metcalf
Photo: Emily Metcalf

HONOLULU – Hawaii’s homeless advocates will hold a protest on Thursday, November 20, at 11:30am, at city hall during National Hunger and Homeless Awareness Week.

They want to encourage Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell to veto Bill 48, which seeks to expand the so called Sit-Lie ban to 15 more districts on Oahu.


The Honolulu City Council approved bill 48 last Friday by a vote of 7-2. The measure expands  to other commercial districts the city’s current ban on sitting and lying on Waikiki sidewalks. However, the mayor must approve the legislation.

Specifically, the legislation prohibits anyone from blocking sidewalks in front of commercial properties between 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. with violators fined as much as $1,000.

Business owners, particularly those in Honolulu, have complained to the city about homeless blocking entrances to their stores and restaurants. Defecating and urinating on public sidewalks and walkways at the entrance of commercial properties also has been a problem.

However, Kathryn Xian, spokesperson for the Pacific Alliance to Stop Slavery, who has actively campaigned against Sit-Lie legislation in Hawaii, said the current ban unfairly targets homeless and prolongs poverty and hardship for those struggling to survive.

Her group will deliver a petition to the mayor signed by over 1,100 people in opposition to Bill 48’s Sit-Lie expansion on Oahu.

They also will present him with a study on Sit-Lie inefficiencies in other jurisdictions.

In this study by the University of California at Berkeley law school, the authors found no meaningful evidence to support the arguments that Sit-Lie laws increase economic activity or improve services to homeless people, Xian said.