State lawmakers have taken some grief for a bill that would allow dogs in restaurants.
Some critics sarcastically wondered whether lawmakers had anything better to do, while others snickered over the bill’s provisions, including language prohibiting dogs from relieving themselves, barking or otherwise disturbing other restaurant patrons.
Every session, a few bills come to symbolize the political downside for lawmakers — especially House and Senate leaders — who introduce bills by request as courtesies to political allies, interest groups or constituents.
House Speaker Calvin Say declined to comment on who requested the dogs-in-restaurants bill, but Gov. Neil Abercrombie — the proud owner of Kanoa, a Shetland sheepdog — was a supporter of the idea.
Most observers understood that a (BR) listed next to a bill’s sponsor meant that the legislation was introduced by request, not necessarily because the lawmaker was behind the bill.
Still, there has been confusion. Our favorite example involves former state Senate President Colleen Hanabusa, who was criticized in the news media in 2007 for a “by request” bill that would have authorized the state to purchase a private jet. Former state Rep. Jon Riki Karamatsu was actually behind the bill.
To make things crystal clear, the House clerk has now dropped the (BR) on the state Legislature’s web site in favor of (Introduced by request of another party.)
The House Judiciary Committee on Thursday deferred the dogs-in-restaurants bill.