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The fashion and decency police are working in tandem this session in the legislature. A House subcommittee voted this afternoon to make it a misdemeanor to wear saggy pants. Any kid showing his underwear or ass in public would face a $250 fine.
"This bill has been coined the anti-crack bill," said the sponsor, Rep. Joe Towns, D-Memphis. "I think any respectable citizen would be against crack. It's a decency bill in terms of having our young people pull their britches up."
Rep. Karen Camper, another Memphis Democrat, was the only subcommittee member against the bill. She held up pictures of people's butts to try to pin down Towns on what's illegal under his legislation. Under the bill's definition of underwear, she said, she'd break the law by wearing a low-cut dress that showed her bra. "A woman working at Hooter's, that would be a violation," she said. She accused Towns of singling out black kids for punishment.
"I don't know what you're insinuating," Towns snapped back. "It's not minority kids. It's not white kids. It's not targeting anyone."
"There were people who didn't want me to wear hot pants in my day," Camper said, "but they didn't legislate it. You're trying to legislate fashion in my opinion."
"No," Towns said, "we're legislating decency."