Wednesday, February 09, 2005

I see Paris, I see France . . .

I see that the Virginia legislature has utterly lost its marbles about people’s underpants:

Virginians who wear their pants so low their underwear shows may want to think about investing in a stronger belt.

The state's House of Delegates passed a bill Tuesday authorizing a $50 fine for anyone who displays his or her underpants in a "lewd or indecent manner."

Del. Lionell Spruill Sr., a Democrat who opposed the bill, had pleaded with his colleagues to remember their own youthful fashion follies.

During an extended monologue Monday, he talked about how they dressed or wore their hair in their teens. On Tuesday, he said the measure was an unconstitutional attack on young blacks that would force parents to take off work to accompany their children to court just for making a fashion statement.

"This is a foolish bill, Mr. Speaker, because it will hurt so many," Spruill said before the measure was approved 60-34. It now goes to the state Senate.

The bill's sponsor, Del. Algie T. Howell, has said constituents were offended by the exposed underwear. He did not speak on the floor Tuesday. [AP]
What’s next? A bill that outlaws plumber butt?

UPDATE: Thankfully, the state Senate had droped the bill today:

RICHMOND, Va. - Virginia lawmakers dropped their droopy-pants bill Thursday after the whole thing became just too embarrassing.

The bill, which would have slapped a $50 fine on people who wear their pants so low that their underwear is visible in "a lewd or indecent manner," passed the state House on Tuesday but was killed by a Senate committee two days later in a unanimous vote.

Republican Sen. Thomas K. Norment said news reports implied that lawmakers were preoccupied with droopy pants.

"I find that an indignation, which dampens my humor," Norment said.

Republican Sen. Kenneth Stolle, the committee chairman, called the bill "a distraction."

The committee hearing drew a standing-room-only crowd that included about 75 government students from Surry County High School.

"If people in Florida can wear bikinis, a little underwear showing isn't going to hurt anybody," 17-year-old Elvyn Shaw said.

The bill's sponsor, Democratic Delegate Algie T. Howell, declined to answer reporters' questions Thursday but issued a statement saying the bill "was in direct response to a number of my constituents who found this to be a very important issue."

He has said the constituents included customers at his barber shop who were offended by exposed underwear. [AP]

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