As I was leaving the ACLU office earlier this week, after a meeting, they mentioned an issue they’re working on with some folks on Maui regarding the restrictions on dancing in establishments that serve alcohol.
According to the Maui Department of Liquor Control, restaurants or bars must have special permission, or a permit, in order to allow dancing in the establishment and in order to receive a permit, the establishment must meet special conditions:
§08-101-23 Special Conditions:
(a) Any dancing or entertainment shall be in areas designated and approved by the director.
(b) An approved area for dancing shall have, when utilized, a minimum area of one hundred square feet, be a non-consumption area, and shall be clearly designated for dancing.
(c) No obscene public or exhibition dancing either with or without partners,or obscene language, songs, or entertainment shall be permitted.
(d) Entertainers shall not expose to view any portion of the pubic hair, anus cleft of the buttocks, vulva, or genitals, or any portion of the female breast below the top of the areola.
(e) Any entertainment such as burlesque or strip tease shall be conducted upon a stage or platform which is at least twenty-four inches above the level of the floor and removed at least six feet from the nearest patron and shall be limited to class 5, category B, dispenser licensees, and to class 12, hotel licensees.
(f) No licensee shall permit any person to perform acts of or acts which simulates:
- Sexual intercourse, masturbation, sodomy, bestiality, oral copulation, or flagellation.
- The touching, caressing or fondling of the breast, buttocks, anus or genitals.
- The displaying of any portion of the pubic hair, cleft of the buttocks, anus, vulva, genitals, or any portion of the female breast below the top of the areola.
One might think I’m making this up, but I’m not. When, in 2006, a resident formally requested from the Liquor Commission their definition of dancing, they simply referred to Webster’s Dictionary:
To move the body, especially the feet, in rhythm, ordinarily to music.
Seriously. Later, the same resident,
petitioned the Liquor Commission to amend the rules to define dancing, but the Commission determined that there was insufficient reason to do so…, then they petitioned the Liquor Commission for a declaratory order to amend the rules. The Liquor Commission denied the petition, so relief was sought from the 2nd Circuit state court. The case was dismissed due to lack of jurisdiction.
And failure to comply with these “Special Condition,” or to prevent a patron from complying can result in hefty fines for the establishment.
When I heard about this, I was immediately reminded of the movie Footloose, staring Kevin Bacon (if you haven’t seen it, it’s a MUST watch from the 80s), and was compelled to let people know this is going on, on Maui, in the 21st century.
Anyway, the ACLU is working with a group called, Maui Dance Advocates, to address this issue. There is also, apparently, a bill making its way through the legislature to address it, House Bill 1339, which
Requires county liquor commissions to adopt or amend rules by July 1, 2012, regarding conduct of patrons and to define the term “dancing.”
That this even needs attention, let along a bill, I find astonishing and felt the need to let you all know. If you go to Maui anytime soon and feel the urge to dance, just make sure you get permission first.