Bill Seeks to Legalize Prostitution in Hawaiʻi
A bill was introduced at the state legislature this session that if passed, would repeal penalties for consensual adult prostitution and promotion of prostitution in Hawaiʻi.
Legislative documents indicate that the bill was introduced by House Speaker Joseph Souki at the request of another party.
House Bill 1533 would also vacate convictions for conduct that is decriminalized and would permit vacating convictions when the defendant has no criminal convictions in the preceding three years.
The item was introduced on Jan. 25, 2017 and passed first reading. It has since been referred to the House Judiciary Committee.
The bill states the following:
Ensuring the health, safety, and well-being of people in Hawaiʻi, including sex workers, is a priority of the State. However, statutes relating to prostitution often cause harm to people without the justification of a clear public purpose.
To address these problems, this Act repeals from these statutes, criminal sanctions against persons whose conduct causes no harm to others such as consensual adult prostitution and the promotion of adult prostitution. This includes repealing vague statutory language relating to the solicitation of minors from section 712-1200, Hawaiʻi Revised Statutes (HRS), relating to the offense of prostitution, because these situations are better addressed by laws prohibiting statutory rape. This Act also amends section 712-1203, HRS, relating to promoting prostitution, section 712-1206, HRS, relating to loitering for the purpose of engaging in or advancing prostitution, section 712-1208, HRS, relating to promoting travel for prostitution, and section 712-1209.5, HRS, relating to habitual solicitation of prostitution, to eliminate penalties for conduct that causes no harm. Finally, this Act amends section 712-1209.6, HRS, relating to prostitution and motions to vacate conviction, to vacate all convictions that were obtained for conduct that is decriminalized by this Act and to permit the courts to vacate certain prostitution related convictions if the defendant had no criminal convictions in the preceding three years.