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Hawaii lawmakers reconsider charging rogue hikers for rescue

HONOLULU (AP) — The Hawaii Senate is reconsidering allowing county emergency departments to charge out-of-bounds hikers for rescue costs as government spending remains under pressure because of the coronavirus pandemic.

A Senate bill would allow counties to issue criminal fines in addition to seeking reimbursement from hikers requiring rescue after leaving marked trails or ignoring “closed” or “no trespassing” signs, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Sunday.

The bill also would add new petty misdemeanor penalties for hiking illegally.

A revised version of a different Senate bill would only give counties the option of seeking reimbursement.

Hikers across the islands every year are rescued by county police and fire departments using helicopters and other equipment in costly operations that can risk the lives of their personnel.

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