URINE FREE ZONES HELP THOSE WHO CAN'T HELP THEMSELVES
News Release from Office of Rep Gene Ward February 16, 2017
Honolulu, Hawai’i – Today, Rep. Gene Ward (R-Hawaii Kai) released the following statement in response to over a week-long discussion in the media about his “Urine-Free Zones” legislation.
"Currently, there are no laws on the books that allow for the involuntarily commitment of individuals who are mentally ill or drug addicted or alcoholic, who are not breaking the law, into rehabilitation programs where they can receive the help they desperately need. HB1595 adds to the penal code in order to gain the voluntary compliance necessary to provide for the mental and medical treatment for those who desire it, Ward explained.
“The main point of this legislation [HB1595] is to allow the chronically homeless who are incapacitated and unable to help themselves to seek treatment instead of paying a fine or going to jail. Urinating in public is just one symptom of these conditions, and this measure helps address these concerns”, Ward explained.
“After a week long discussion of this legislation, I’m discouraged that some in the media miss the compassionate part of the bill and how it will make treatment of the homeless, legal. As long as there is no legal way to involuntarily commit a person to get treatment, a bill like this and others are necessary. The vast majority of the chronically homeless are simply unable to help themselves and the government must express some tough love with a bill like this, Ward concluded.”
HB1595: Text, Status “Creates the offense of urinating or defecating in a urine free zone. Designates certain public places as urine free zones. Establishes fines or completion of a court approved drug, alcohol, or mental health treatment program as consequences for a violation.”