By Lucas Johnson, Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Three years ago, Rep. Joe Towns failed to make Tennessee the first state to fine teenagers for wearing saggy britches. Now the Memphis Democrat has a more comprehensive measure that would prohibit “risque dressing” in schools — and its chances of passage are looking good.
The proposal is headed for a House floor vote and is moving steadily in the Senate. The bill seeks to prohibit students from exposing “underwear or body parts in an indecent manner that disrupts the learning environment.”
It means that in addition to boys not letting their pants sag, female student athletes might be required to wear shirts over their sports bras if they were deemed inappropriate by school officials.
“It’s raising the standard of dress when they’re attending public schools,” Towns said. “It specifically states that they cannot come to the schools with their buttocks displayed, breast and things displayed — risque dressing.”
Memphis Democratic Rep. Joe Towns has tried unsuccessfully for several years to make it against the law for young men to wear pants so loose that they sag below the waistline, a proposal christened the “saggy pants bill.” He’s taking a new tact this year, reports WPLN. His current bill (HB3679) came up in the House Education Subcommittee, where it got more help than he expected. That’s because it would ban any underwear from showing. Knoxville Republican Bill Dunn expressed his shock at the way women athletes dress.
“…. having several children who play sports, it’s pretty shocking to me that you go to practices and games and young ladies are walking around in sports bras…would that be considered underwear?”
Currently dress codes are the responsibility of each school district.
The bill, which, so far, does not mandate particular uniforms for women athletes, was approved and sent to the House Education Committee.
,,, Towns’ anti-baggy pants bill was fought off for several legislative sessions as targeting young urban blacks. Other Democrats, also members of the Black Caucus, complained that any such bill would be used by police exclusively against young black men.
The current version writes into law a requirement that school dress codes specifically address the baggy pants issue. Towns:
“But what it does, it requires local education to provide a provision in the student discipline code, that prohibits students from wearing clothing that is worn inappropriately, underwear exposed, indecent manner which they feel disrupts the learning environment.”
Rep. Richard Montgomery, a Sevierville Republican, suggested the whole matter be addressed in a non-binding resolution urging such a course. He says it’s overkill to put such detail into Tennessee Code Annotated, the green law books that already take up two shelves in most legislative offices.
“We’ve put on this in Code …you know, these books, as has mentioned, we’re gonna have to start building more bookcases.”
Town’s explanation that it keeps students from showing their underwear apparently suggested further action to Dunn, a spokesman for many conservative issues, who brought up the question about sports bra.
“I’m serious…I hope that is included. I would consider that underwear, that they have. And they should wear shirts, instead of running around like that.”
The Tennessee Department on Transportation has issued its annual state highway map with some innovations.
This year’s map contains a “quick response code,” or QR code, that will allow users to scan and link to TDOT’s mobile web application, TDOT SmartWay Mobile.
“The state map is an important tool for travelers, and this new feature will provide an added convenience by allowing motorists to quickly access real-time traffic information using their smartphones,” TDOT Commissioner John Schroer said. “The map is free and is also available at welcome centers and rest areas across the state.”
The 2012 TDOT Tennessee transportation map can be downloaded from the TDOT website at www.tn.gov/tdot/maps.htm. Pre-printed versions of the map can also be ordered from TDOT online at www.tn.gov/tdot/MapOrder/maporder.htm or by mailing a request to the Tennessee Department of Transportation’s Map Sales Department, 505 Deadrick St., James K. Polk Building, Suite 300, Nashville, Tenn., 37243.
Individuals may request up to five free maps, and organizations and schools may order up to 100.
The official 2012 map is a joint effort between TDOT and the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development.