Tackling a serious issue

Finally, a legislative body has turned its attention to a serious subject.

The state Senate on Wednesday passed on to the House SB 464, which demands that county liquor commissions define “dancing.” At first we thought this was in response to a complaint by the wife for clarification about just what it is we do on the dance floor, but, alas, the little woman had nothing to do with it.

No, it turns out that Maui County has a regulation that says bars must have a dance floor of at least 100 square feet – liquor free – if they allow dancing on the premises. And that’s the only place you’re allowed to dance in that establishment.

A spokesperson for the Maui County Liquor Commission told The Maui News it was a safety issue, because drinks could be spilled on the floor or glasses could be broken.

In its written testimony to the Senate opposing SB 464, the commission also noted that “dancing regulations are unnecessary because we have not cited any liquor licensees for any dancing-related offenses.”

All right, let’s see if we have this correctly: The commission has a rule – for safety reasons – but doesn’t enforce it. Hmmm . . .

The American Civil Liberties Union contends Maui’s liquor control officers are “overzealous” in enforcing the no-dancing rule and that the commission “has been unresponsive and outright hostile to complaints.”

The ACLU further states the rule “fails to define dancing, and, as such, leaves small-business owners and patrons without any notice as to what constitutes ‘dancing.'”

The newspaper story went on to quote various citizens who love to dance and who apparently don’t want to be branded a criminal for accidentally swaying to the music while sitting on a barstool.

The proposed legislation wants commissions to spell out just what “dancing” is and any limitations on the practice in bars.

We’d note for the record that a lot of people we know cannot dance without alcohol and even more think they are pretty good dancers after a couple of drinks. Ergo, alcohol is an essential element in most people’s dancing and should not be limited in any way.

For REALLY bad dancers – like us – there are still reckless endangerment laws.

* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.