Lawmakers Drop Bill Against Exposed Underwear

Christina Nuckols, The Virginian-Pilot (Norflok, Va.), Feb. 10

RICHMOND—OK, Brits, you’ve had your fun.

Wipe those smirks off your faces, Aussies. Virginia’s been the butt of enough of your Down Under jokes.

The whole world, it seems, has been cracking up over the “droopy drawers” bill, but all good things must come to an end.

A panel of disapproving Senators voted unanimously to can the bill Thursday with a few tsk-tsks and stern speeches. Sen. Kenneth W. Stolle, R-Virginia Beach, chairman of the Senate Courts of Justice Committee, said he called a special meeting to hear the measure because it had become a distraction and he wanted to dispense with it quickly.

“I think that bill is an embarrassment to Virginia, nationally and internationally,” he said. “I wanted to stop the embarrassment.”

The bill, HB1981, would have imposed a $50 fine on people who display their below-waist undergarments in a “lewd or indecent manner.” The author of the bill, Del. Algie T. Howell Jr., D-Norfolk, said he introduced it after customers in his barber shop complained about young men wearing low-riding pants in order to show off their underwear.

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Nearly 75 teenagers from Surrey County High School crowded into the meeting room to watch the vote. None asked to speak, but several said after the meeting that they were glad the droopy-drawers bill had been dropped.

“I think it’s a stupid bill,” said Ronnell Piker, 18. “Why do they want to complain about the way people wear their clothes? They don’t want to see people comfortable. I just buy my pants big for space.”

Breyon Pierce, 17, said his school doesn’t permit students to wear low-riding pants in class, but the fashion statement is popular during free time.

“We buy our clothes, and we have a right to wear what we feel like,” he said.

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