In Louisiana’s Terrebonne Parish, anyone caught wearing saggy pants that expose their undergarments will be fined. Last week, the Parish Council voted 8-1 on an ordinance that effectively bans young people from wearing their pants below the waist and, in certain cases, exposing too much skin.
As reported by the Houma Courier, on Wednesday, April 10, the council passed the vote and laid out the terms of the ordinance before sending it to Parish President Michel Claudet, who will reportedly sign the law. For first-time offenders, a $50 fine will be imposed. If caught a second time violating the ban, the fine jumps to $100. For a third and following offenses, 16 hours of community service will be tacked on top of a $100 fine.
The ordinance, according to the council was passed a measure of safety. “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,” reads part of the ordinance.
The vote was contested by supporters of the law and those who felt it stripped away a young person’s ability to express themselves. “There is nothing positive about people wearing saggy pants,” said Jerome Boykin, president of the Terrebonne NAACP. “This is not a black issue, this is not a white issue, this is a people issue.”
One resident spoke and said while the fashion trend is “foolish,” it shouldn’t be made illegal. The lone council member who voted against the law, Chairwoman Beryl Amedee, argued that the law violates the constitutional right to free expression.