Saggy pants ban survives first reading at Osceola city council

OSCEOLA, AR (KAIT) - At the Osceola City Council meeting Monday night, four council members voted in support of the ban on saggy pants.
Another two council members abstained from voting.  The ordinance has to make it through two more readings by the city council before it can officially take effect.

Osceola resident Charles Walters said he wants the council to pass the ordinance. "It looks disgusting for the kids to run around with their underwear and whatever showing."


Walters is in favor of jail time for people who repeatedly violate the ban, should it pass. "Charge them a fine, and each time they (violate the ordinance), go up double, and then after the third offense, spend at least 10 days behind bars," Walters said. "I think that will stop the sagging pants."


Several cities have passed legislation banning sagging pants. Last week, Ripley, Mississippi aldermen unanimously approved an ordinance that prohibits public indecency to curb the practice.


A Circuit Court Judge in Autauga County, Alabama found a Prattville man in contempt of court Tuesday for sagging pants and sentenced him to three days in jail.


"I don't think it's that serious. I don't think jail time is necessary," said 19-year-old Ahlima Muhammad.


Muhammad said she does not have a problem with men slightly sagging their pants, but thinks self-expression should also be courteous. "(It) kind of goes along with decency. You're not going to expect a female to walk around with her breasts out, or her shorts all up her butt," she said. "If you're sagging a little bit, I think it's alright, but (not) when it gets down to your ankles and your knees."


The proposed ordinance would prohibit any person from wearing pants or skirts more than three inches below the top of the hips and waistline.


It reads:


WHEREAS, the City of Osceola, Arkansas wishes to protect, preserve and promote the health, safety, and welfare for the citizens of the city through the prohibition of wearing pants and/or skirts below the waste (sic) and revealing skin or undergarments; and


WHEREAS, it is the intent of the City of Osceola, Arkansas to establish standards that will eliminate and reduce the exposure of skin and undergarments, which is detrimental to individuals and the community in the enjoyment of life, property and conduct of business.


Punishments for violating the ban were not specified in the proposed ordinance.


The ordinance states that in a hearing or trial, a person who wears pants or a skirt more than three inches below the top of the hips can claim it is a right that is protected by the federal or state constitution.  


The ordinance has to make it through three readings by the City Council. Walters hopes it survives.


"I think if they do that they'll be doing the right thing for the city."

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