Saltillo’s board of aldermen, last week, became the latest group of intellectual giants to approve a ban on wearing saggy pants in public.
The unanimous vote came just a few weeks after the Columbus city council voted 4-2 to give initial approval of a new ordinance against “sagging” or below-the-waist pants.
The Saltillo vote also comes just two weeks after it was announced that a public hearing will be held on a proposal by Hinds County Supervisor Kenneth Stokes to outlaw wearing of saggy pants in Hinds County.
The Saltillo version of the law comes with a $50 fine for the first offense with subsequent offenses possibly resulting in fines up to $200.
Saltillo mayor Bill Williams says offenders also can be required to serve up to 40 hours of community service.
City attorney Jason Herring says the ordinance does not seek to deter First Amendment rights but he says there is a balance between First Amendment rights and decency.
There is no question saggy pants are offensive to at least 90 percent of those wanting to argue the value of the style.
But, if decency is going to be the underlying argument behind laws that seek to prohibit saggy pants in America, then we better start taking a hard look at other styles that could be considered much more offensive.
Here are a few examples that city councils and boards of aldermen might take under advisement:
>> Low bellies: You know what I am talking about — folks whose shirts are too short and the their bellies are too big, causing the belly to fall below the bottom of the shirt.
>> The on-the-way-to-the-gym look: Most of us are accustomed to seeing the soccer mom running errands while wearing leaving-little-to-the-imagination spandex pants. These come in full length and Capri styles. But don’t leave the men out of this one. When the weather gets cold, be prepared to see your male neighbor sporting his bulge-defining britches to fend off brisk temperatures.
>> Plain old cleavage: There’s nothing wrong with a little cleavage here and there, but it can and does go too far. So, which city council is going to start fining women in their community for bad blouse choices?
In the end — get it? — what will we have gained from all of these saggy pants ordinances?
They, likely, aren’t going to change the state’s No. 50 ranking in education or the state’s No. 50 ranking in obesity and healthcare or the state’s No. 50 ranking in per capita income.
So, it appears, we are so offended by saggy pants, that we aren’t going to do anything about some of the issues that might actually lead to people choosing this style.
Now, that, my friends, is the legislative process at work for us all.
>> Contact Mississippi Business Journal editor Ross Reily at firstname.lastname@example.org or (601) 364-1018