Nuggets of Wisdom

Thursday, September 3, 2009

ACLU Upset Over Honolulu “Body Odor” Bill

From USA Today:

Transit riders in Honolulu better clean up their act.

The City Council is considering a bill that will make it illegal to "bring onto transit property odors that unreasonably disturb others or interfere with their use of the transit system, whether such odors arise from one's person, clothes, articles, accompanying animal or any other source."

Councilman Rod Tam, a co-sponsor of the bill, explained why it is needed:

"As we become more inundated with people from all over the world, their way of taking care of their health is different. Some people, quite frankly, do not take a bath every day and therefore they may be offensive in terms of their odor."

As someone who frequently takes the bus, I consider this bill a breath of relief (excuse the pun). The last thing I want to deal with in a bus crammed with people is strong body odor.

No deodorant, no service? Who could possibly be against such a policy?

The local chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union and council member Charles Djou said they are worried the bill is onerous and too broadly worded.

"We are obviously concerned about laws that are inherently vague, where a reasonable person cannot know what conduct is prohibited," said Daniel Gluck, of ACLU Hawaii. "Vague laws — like the proposed 'odor' ban — open the door to discriminatory enforcement based on an officer's individual prejudices."

Discriminatory enforcement? Discriminatory against who? People who don’t take baths?

The bill is too vague and broadly worded?

…odors that unreasonably disturb others or interfere with their use of the transit system…

Doesn’t sound vague to me!

And now for some stand-up: You might be kicked off the bus if…

  • when the bus arrives at the bus stop, the tires melt.
  • the flies circling around you need to pay separate bus fare.
  • the second you step on, the driver thinks he ran over a skunk.
  • the second you step on, the passengers in the back throw up.
  • the bus driver complains he can’t see through the fog you’re emitting.
  • the bus driver’s air freshener spontaneously combusts.
  • the advertisements for deodorant fade.