State sit-lie bill moves forward in House after major overhaul

State sit-lie bill moves forward in House after major overhaul

A bill that would have made it a criminal offense to sit, lie, or camp on state property moved forward in the state House Friday, but not before it underwent significant changes.

But perhaps the most interesting element of the hearing was who didn't attend.

State homeless czar Scott Morishige wasn't in the room when the bill was being discussed, though officials from various nonprofit, city and state agencies were.

"Is he here?" Water and Land Committee Chairman Ryan Yamane asked at one point.

After the meeting, Morishige told Hawaii News Now there was a miscommunication about the hearing.

He also said he did have concerns about the proposal.

"I think our concern with the measure as written is that it may seem overly broad," he said.

When asked if the Ige administration would support it, he said, "Again just emphasizing the fact that whenever the state does respond to individuals on government property we want to do it in a way that homeless services are integrated trying to link people with shelter as quickly as possible."

The Water and Land Committee made big changes to the bill, including allowing state departments to identify areas of land where homeless enforcement action could take place. People living there would be given a minimum of 24 hours notice to leave.

Lawmakers also amended the bill to make violating the ban a misdemeanor, rather than a criminal offense.

The bill now heads to the House Judiciary Committee.

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