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OPINION: Saggy brains support saggy pants ordinances

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?

What now?
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 ross.reily@msbusiness.com or (601) 364-1018


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About Ross Reily

Ross Reily is editor of the Mississippi Business Journal. He is a husband to an amazing wife, dad to 3 crazy kids and 2 dogs. He is also a fan of the Delta State Fighting Okra and the Boston Red Sox.


  1. Ross:
    Thanks very much for putting words to my thoughts.

  2. Will tourists with baggy pants get a police warning or a fine? Perhaps signs should be posted at roadway entrances to MS cities and counties warning travelers not to be seen wearing baggy pants or Else?

    Baggy pants are a fad that will pass, but laws against waring baggy pants could be amended in the future to read No “short” pants, No “short dresses”, no long hair, no tee shirts with certain wording; the possibilities are unlimited. This law against baggy pants reminds me of the 1930’s laws passed in Nazi Germany that banded and criminalized dancing the Jitterbug and wearing certain types of clothing offensive to the state.


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