Behind the News, Bipartisan Guide to Ridiculous Legislation

Bipartisan Guide to Ridiculous Legislation: The return of the saggy pants bill

1317976035_be76e6b4fa_mOh, Gary Siplin of Orlando: Did you not learn anything from last legislative session? Did you not realize that legislating underpants makes you, and the rest of us, look like reactionary fools with misplaced priorities?

Apparently not. Because Gary Siplin (D-Orlando) reintroduced the Saggy Pants Bill.

siplin*Slaps forehead*

Yes, our esteemed Democratic senator from Central Florida is at it again. SB 390 would prohibit students from exposing below the waist underwear while on the grounds of a public school.

I will give Siplin credit on one thing though — this year his penalties are a little more sane. Last year, he proposed arresting said youth rocking out with their drawers out. This year, small kids in big pants will receive a verbal warning for the first offense, suspension for three days on the second and a five-day suspension for a third offense.

But, as I noted last year, this law is not needed:

Besides the dubiousness of the state regulating local dress codes, Siplin fails to recognize that school districts already have dress code requirements that prohibit saggy pants.

Oh, Gary Siplin, what’s next for you? Short skirts? Stinky socks? Mandating clean underwear (in case of an accident)?!

Rating: 5 bong hits bongbongbongbongbong

(Read about my rating system here. Photo courtesy of Malingering/Flickr)

Behind the News, Bipartisan Guide to Ridiculous Legislation

The Bipartisan Guide to Ridiculous Legislation is back!

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The Florida Legislature is halfway through its annual session and, as the maxim goes, “no man’s life, liberty or property is safe while the (Florida) Legislature is in session.” (Thanks, Mark Twain!)

I would add “no man’s sanity is safe either.”

The main word this session is “deregulation.” From suspending impact fees to giving telephone and power companies carte blanche over our pocketbooks, Florida’s politicians are bending backwards to try and appease business interests in the hopes of turning around our desperate economic situation. At least that’s the party line; the real reason could be opportunism.

Luckily, several journalists are reporting on these important bills, including Howard Troxler for the St. Petersburg Times. WMNF’s Rob Lorei interviewed Troxler yesterday for his “Radioactivity” program and I highly recommend downloading the podcast (it’s not available yet, but keep looking). Even as reporters’ ranks dwindle, some good work is coming out of the state’s major papers on these topics.

But what I don’t hear a lot about are these little bills that may not affect all Floridians, but could make lives miserable for a certain few. These are bills filed by legislators who missed the boat on real reforms and instead throw out politically-charged manifestos intended to get them re-elected. Or in some cases, perhaps these politicians are just insane.

Last year, while working at Creative Loafing, I profiled a number of a bills that just defied logic. At the top of my list was the law banning Truck Nutz. In fact, I rated all the other pieces of ridiculous legislation with one to five “Truck Nutz.” The law requiring the right amount of TP in public restrooms earned two “Nutz,” while the saggy pants bill earned five.

This year’s list of bills does not look much better. So, I’m bringing back the “Bipartisan Guide to Ridiculous Legislation.” There’s no Truck Nutz bill this session, so I’m going with another absurd proposed law: Rep. Darryl Rouson’s “bong tax.” I won’t go into the specifics here — I reported on this bill right before my lay-off — but basically Rep. Rouson wants to put a heavy tax on all the headshops in the state. So, every bill I outline here will be rated from one “bong hit” to five, with five representing the most stoned bills coming out this session.

For the next week, I’ll post a few outrageous bills each day. This is an important time for citizens; next week, many legislators will go home for Easter and put many of these bills on hold until they return. This is your chance to send letters and e-mails letting your representative and tell them you don’t appreciate their precious (and paid-for) time wasted on stupid legislation. Yes, laws like the bong tax might get us on the Daily Show, but they don’t solve our state’s problems.

(Photo courtesy of whizchickenonabun/Flickr)