State lawmakers are taking another stab at forcing county liquor commissions to address a longstanding problem.

The commissions have chosen to regulate dancing for years, requiring special permits and additional fees. The problem is, they won’t define what constitutes “dancing.”

So bar owners in Hawaii face heavy fines if they let their patrons bob their heads to the music or swing their hips to a song off an approved dance floor.

Senate Bill 868, introduced by Kalani English and 13 other senators, would give the commissions until Oct. 1 to define “dancing.” The bill is awaiting a hearing before the Public Safety Committee, chaired by Sen. Will Espero.

The Legislature has tried for years to force the commissions to take action. A bill cleared the Senate in 2013 but died in the House.

Read Civil Beat’s past coverage of the issue here and a video interview with Dean Pitchford, who created “Footloose,” here.

Civil Beat dances

Random people dance in a bar in Honolulu.

Alana Hong/Civil Beat

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