Friday, April 23, 2004

Legislative Overreaching 

AP via Yahoo! News today reports on a new bill filed in Louisiana. State Rep. Derrick Sheppherd is mad as hell, and he's not going to take it anymore! He's requesting that the state step in where parents are failing to take appropriate measures. From the article:

"I'm sick of seeing it," said Shepherd, a first-term legislator. "The community's outraged. And if parents can't do their job, if parents can't regulate what their children wear, then there should be a law."

Yes, Rep. Shepperd wants a law that makes anyone caught wearing low-rider pants subject to a fine of up to $500 and/or up to six months in jail. He is attempting to attach this to the state's obscenity law.

Joe Cook of the Louisiana ACLU doubts the situation would meet the US Supreme Courts First Amendment standards for prohibiting obscene behavior, and aptly brings up the question of sarong wearers and workers with heavy tool belts.

The concept of putting someone in jail because the legislature doesn't like what they're wearing is astounding to me. Plus if he's framing this as a parental failure, why would he be fining or jailing the unregulated teenager? What about adults who choose to wear low slung clothing? What about plunging necklines? Open backed evening gowns? He'd have a field day at the Academy Awards! I thought Angelina looked great, but she'd better not wear that gown in Louisiana.

If he feels it's appropriate to regulate personal clothing choices in this way, what else would he like to outlaw because he doesn't like it?

Posted by Beth Henderson at 10:47 AM