A Mississippi official has renewed his crusade against sagging pants, seeking to ban the oft-maligned fashion statement from his entire county.
Kenneth Stokes, a Hinds County Supervisor, is hoping to enact an ordinance that would prohibit individuals from sagging their pants.
"Young people have to pull their pants up," Stokes said last week. "Most of the young people with their pants down are people who think they're gangsters. They have the wrong outlook on life. It's not a fashion thing. It's a criminal thing."
However, he did admit that the aesthetic bump from forcing individuals to wear their pants higher would be a welcome side effect of the ordinance.
"How many people want to see other people's underwear or behinds?" he said. "It's not a fashion statement any more."
While a formal proposal is still in the works, the county supervisors' attorney Crystal Wise Martin said that, if approved, the ban would apply to all parts of the county, and may impose a community service requirement or $10 fine on offending parties.
"They are not things that would break the bank," Martin said. "We just want to show another way. That [saggy pants] is not an acceptable way to show yourself."
This is not the first time Stokes has targeted low-slung pants. In 2009, while serving on the Jackson city council, he proposed a law that would have banned the style from the state capital. That measure failed to gain traction on the council when some members raised questions about the proposal's constitutionality.
Support for the ban appears mixed among Hinds County residents.
Lance Eubanks, a native of the county, told the Clarion Ledger that while he disapproves of the trend, he doesn't think it should be banned.
"If we started banning people from looking lazy, there would be some very upset Americans," he said. "The bottom line is that cities should be focusing on many more important things ... like banning mullets or jean shorts, because those really offend me."
Stokes is not alone in his pro-belt mission. Officials in Albany, Georgia reported last year that a ban similar to the one proposed by Stokes had brought in almost $4,000 in fines in less than a year.
Not all attempts have been so successful. In 2008, a judge ruled that a Florida law banning the style was unconstitutional after a 17-year-old offender spent a night in jail when he was caught exposing his underwear.
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