- Associated Press - Thursday, December 3, 2015

WAILUKU, Hawaii (AP) - Mayor Alan Arakawa’s administration has submitted five bills to the Maui County Council aimed at enforcing laws surrounding “nuisance” behavior and a proposed budget amendment to address the growing homelessness crisis.

The measures are meant to help police enforce laws prohibiting lying on public sidewalks, aggressive panhandling, public drinking, urinating or defecating in public and shopping cart theft. Violations of the proposed bills would carry penalties of up to a $500 fine or 30 days in jail, The Maui News reported (http://bit.ly/1Qg2lBb).

The budget amendment would provide funding for temporary shelters, homeless programs and the creation of a homeless division within the Department of Housing and Human Concerns.

The Arakawa administration last week recommended action to deal with the growing homeless population. Officials called for deployable emergency shelters to house more than 1,800 homeless people.

The bills are to be reviewed by the County Council Friday.

“We have proposed solutions that would help the Maui Police Department enforce the law and keep people safe, while also creating and deploying emergency housing for our homeless community,” said Managing Director Keith Regan in a news release Tuesday announcing the measures. “Time is of the essence, and we ask that our council members review, discuss and approve our funding requests as quickly as they can, so that we may get started.”

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Information from: The Maui News, http://www.mauinews.com

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