Tag Archives: saggy

In Defense of the Baggy Pants Bill

From Frank Cagle comes a defense of the bill that lots of folks have criticized (including Gov. Bill Haslam, before he signed it into law):
‘ll be the first to admit that some legislators in Nashville and in state capitols across the country have been proposing controversial bills to provide solutions for problems that don’t exist. But I would point out that it is possible for serious people in the Legislature to be doing important work while the clowns are out in the hall getting all the press attention.
I rise today, however, to defend a bill that has met with almost universal derision and has often been used as an easy example of frivolous meddling. I’m talking about the baggy pants bill. You might think a law to stop schoolchildren from wearing their pants hanging off their hips was the idea of an uptight white Republican who hates hip hop.
Joe Towns, the principle sponsor of the legislation, is a black Democratic legislator from Memphis. Why has he pursued this idea for some years?
The style of pants around the butt with several inches of underwear sticking out the top began in prisons and jails, where inmates are not allowed belts. Is it a good thing if our high school students look at convicts as role models? That they want to identify with thugs and drug dealers, ’cause it’s, like, cool?
It seems a trivial thing unless you think about it. Baggy pants won’t get you a job. It won’t help you have an attitude conducive to learning in school. It is a way of identifying with losers.
Do you understand why a black legislator from Memphis finds such an ethos troubling?


Note: Cagle is not alone, reports the Columbia Daily Herald.

Governor Signs ‘Saggy Pants’ Into Law (wasn’t that a ‘crazy bill’?)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A proposal that would prohibit students from dressing in an “indecent manner” at school has been signed by the governor.
Gov. Bill Haslam signed the measure this week. The legislation prohibits students from exposing “underwear or body parts in an indecent manner that disrupts the learning environment.”
A stricter version of the proposal failed to pass the Legislature three years ago. That measure targeted individuals who wear pants below the waistline and imposed a fine of up to $250 and 160 hours of community service.
Under the current legislation, school districts would decide a less severe punishment.
The Republican governor earlier this month cited coverage of the saggy pants bill as an example of what he called the media’s failure to pay attention to substantive measures.

Haslam Unhappy With Media Attention to ‘Craziest’ Legislation

By Eric Schelzig, Associated Press
FRANKLIN, Tenn. — Republican Gov. Bill Haslam is expressing exasperation at the attention given to the “craziest” proposals measures flowing through the Tennessee General Assembly. But instead of taking lawmakers to task, the governor points the finger at the news media.
During a panel discussion about work force development and higher education this week, Haslam argued that an overhaul of standards in schools has failed to gain the proper attention from reporters.
“We’re redefining accountability, and you’d be hard-pressed to find 100 lines of print in any paper of the state,” Haslam said. “Now, today in the Legislature there’s a conversation about saggy pants and what they should do there.”
“So we have to go to our friends in the media and say: ‘Really?'”

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‘Saggy Pants Bill’ Goes to Governor

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A measure that would prohibit students from dressing indecently in school is headed to the governor for his consideration.
The Senate passed the proposal 29-0 on Monday evening, and the House approved it 81-9 shortly afterward.
The legislation seeks to prohibit students from exposing “underwear or body parts in an indecent manner that disrupts the learning environment.”
A stricter version of the proposal failed to pass the Legislature three years ago. That measure targeted individuals who wear pants below the waistline and imposed a fine of up to $250 and 160 hours of community service.
Under the current proposal, school districts would decide a less severe punishment.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Arkansas and Florida are the only states to target schools for a saggy pants ban.

Unlike ‘Saggy Pants,’ ‘Risque Dressing’ Bill Appears Sure to Pass

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.”

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‘Saggy Pants’ Bill Converted to ‘Don’t Show Underwear’

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.”