Here’s a story you’ve heard many, many times before: the Hawaii state Legislature is considering a bill that would force all the county Liquor Control departments to define “dancing.” Known as SB 868, the bill was introduced by 14 state Senators including Maui’s own J. Kalani English, Roz Baker and Gil Keith-Agaran.
“As the co-founder of Maui Dance Advocates we have been trying for 9 years to reform the dancing rules in Maui,” said Jiva Jive (fka Anthony Simmons) in his Feb. 24 testimony on the bill. “I have seen people thrown out of establishments for dancing. Dancing is a freedom and I feel we should be able to move our bodies moderately every where [sic] we are. The Maui County Liquor Control has no definition for dancing so any rhythmic or non-rhythmic movement could be illicit. Let the people tap their toes, bob their heads and sway their hips off the dance floor.”
I know, I know, we’ve been down this road before. Many times before. But there are two hopeful signs that things may be different this year. First, the bill’s already passed the Senate and is making it way through the House. Second, KHON ran a story on the bill which was later posted to CNN’s website.
“Footloose” was about a small town putting a ban on dancing,” stated the Mar. 12 KHON story. “On Maui, people can dance, but there are limits.”
Of course, not everything’s different: The Maui County LC doesn’t like the bill.
“The County of Maui, Department of Liquor Control supports the intent of this bill but opposes it in its current form,” LC Deputy Director Traci Fujita Villarosa said in comments submitted to the Legislature on Feb. 20. “We propose an amendment which clarifies the intent of this bill as set forth in both the description of the bill as well as the implementation language in section 2 of the bill.”
In any case, the House Economic Development and Business Committee will hold a hearing on the bill at 9am on Tuesday, Mar. 17 (that’s tomorrow!) in House Conference Room 312.
Photo of dancing ASIMO robot: Momotarou2012/Wikimedia Commons