Pants Police

Say no to crack

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In February 2005, the Virginia House of Delegates passed a bill to make saggy pants a criminal offense. Under the proposed law, pants that reveal your undergarments would have been punishable by a $50 fine. "It's not about individual rights; it's about values," explained the bill's sponsor, Del. Algie Howell Jr. (D-90th District). "The way you dress does have something to do with how you behave."

After the bill made national headlines and inspired national ridicule, the state Senate rejected it. But Howell may get the last laugh.

The Christian Science Monitor reported in June that organizers in Atlanta, Detroit, Nashville, and Birmingham have all staged anti-sagging rallies, where high-waistline activists hand out belts to saggy-pants offenders. The Associated Press reported in September that many cities are considering their own droopy-drawers prohibitions. Atlanta is mulling a bill that would impose fines and community service. Several towns in Louisiana have passed bans, including Delcambre, where exposed underwear can result in a $500 fine or six months in jail. Delcambre Mayor Carrol Broussard, while acknowledging that the law may be unconstitutional or unenforceable, said, "We're going to try."

Trenton City Council member Annette Lartigue is drafting a bill that would require saggy-pants violators to meet with a social worker for a personality audit. He told AP: "Are they employed? Do they have a high school diploma? It's a wonderful way to redirect at that point."

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