Baggy Pants illegal: People wearing baggy pants in the town of Terrebonne Barish, La, will soon face fines and possible community service under a new ordinance, passed by the Parish Council and expected to be signed by the mayor.
“There is nothing positive about people wearing saggy pants,” Jerome Boykin, president of the Terrebonne chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said before the vote. “This is not a black issue, this is not a white issue, this is a people issue.”
One resident, Ida Moore, said that while baggy pants look foolish, unattractive, and unbecoming, they shouldn’t be illegal.
“It’s certainly not the first time elders complained about the social mores and dress habits of young people,” Moore said, according to local broadcaster WWLTV. “But to make laws of governing social differences is a slippery slope to the level of government that we do not allow.”
Council Vice Chairman Russell Hornsby, though, said the law sends a message that deviant behavior will not be tolerated.
The law specifically makes it illegal to wear pants below the waist in public that exposes underwear or too much skin, as determined by police and the courts.
“Appearing in public view while exposing one’s skin or undergarments below the waist is contrary to safety, health, peace and good order of the parish and the general welfare,” the ordinance says, according to WWLTV.
Parish President Michel Claudet still has to sign the law after it passed through the council, but he is expected to.
Fines are as follows:
$50 for the first offense
$100 for the second offense
$100 and 16 hours of community service for any offenses more than two
In the Lousiana town of Lafourche, a similar law was imposed in 2007.
But a report from the local media Houma Today earlier this year finds that the law has been enforced fewer than 50 times since its creation.
According to Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office records, 45 people have been ticketed in the law’s five-year existence.
“That’s a low number. I could get 45 in one hour if I wanted,” said Lafourche Parish Councilman Lindel Toups, who introduced the ordinance, according to Houma Today. “It’s everywhere. You go out there with your grandkids and you see people with their pants hanging past their drawers, showing their butt.”
Lafourche Parish Sheriff Craig Webra said his deputies use discretion, and often hand out warnings instead of tickets.
“It is going to be a discretion-based thing,” Webre said. “If the person is cooperative, doesn’t have a history, no other criminal activity and remedies the problem, they will likely end up with a warning.”