When Obama and Jasper County said 'pull up your pants'
A bill proposed in the South Carolina Legislature would allow fines for men and boys who are seen with sagging pants.
House Bill 4957, introduced Feb. 15, says it would be unlawful for a person to appear in public wearing “his pants” more than three inches below “the crest of his ileum exposing his skin or undergarments.”
The ilium is the broad, upper portion of either hipbone, according to dictionary.com.
Ileum spelled with an “E” — as it is written in the bill — is part of the small intestine, according to the dictionary website.
The offender would be subject to a $25 fine for a first offense; a $50 fine or up to 3 hours of community service, or both, for a second offense; and a $75 fine or up to 6 hours of community service, or both, for a third or subsequent offense.
The violation would not be a criminal or delinquent offense, the proposal says. It would be handled by municipal or magistrate court.
The proposal also says violations would not be grounds for denying, suspending or revoking college admissions or financial aid.
The bill has been referred to the Judiciary Committee.
Seven of the 10 lawmakers who co-sponsored the legislation are Democrats. Three of them are from the Lowcountry: Reps. Robert Brown and Wendell Gilliard from Charleston County and Joseph Jefferson Jr. from Berkeley County. A fourth Lowcountry lawmaker, Republican Rep. Linda Bennett of Charleston County, also is among the co-sponsors.
Other co-sponsors include Reps. Carl Anderson (D-Georgetown), Jimmy Bales (D-Richland), Steven Wayne Long (R-Spartanburg), Richard Martin (R-Newberry), Russell Ott (D-Calhoun) and Robert Williams (D-Georgetown).
Rep. Rosalyn Henderson-Myers (D-Spartanburg) originally was listed as a co-sponsor of the bill but said through a spokesman on Tuesday afternoon that she had withdrawn her support.
“We have to lead by example,” Gilliard told WCIV television station. “The pants now are being worn below the knees.”
Gilliard told the television station that the issue is one of equality because a female would be cited for indecent exposure if she wore sagging pants.
The Timmonsville City Council in July 2016 approved a dress code ordinance that would allow fines for people who intentionally show their underwear.
Jasper County has prohibited sagging pants there since 2008, though most offenders are warned instead of being ticketed, officials told The Island Packet in 2016.