ACLU: Hawaii GOP bills aim to punish homeless for 'basic life functions' -- like sleeping

The American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii warned this week that bills being pushed by Hawaii's Maui County Mayor Alan Arakawa (R) would punish homeless people for "the basic life functions of sleeping and going to the bathroom."

In an email on Friday, ACLU of Hawaii legal director Daniel Gluck told The Maui News that his group "strongly opposed" several bills being offered to prevent homeless people from sleeping on sidewalks or going to the bathroom in public areas.

Other bills under consideration by the County Council would outlaw drinking in public places and stealing shopping carts.

County Council Chairman Mike White agreed in an email last week that were "policy and constitutional concerns on these bills and each of them will have to be thoroughly reviewed."

"I have not received a strong indication on the need for these new laws to address homelessness and if they are even enforceable," White said.

For his part, Arakawa has insisted that the measures would stand up in court because they have been examined and approved by county attorneys.