Council members are scheduled to vote on the proposed measure in two weeks at their next scheduled meeting following a public hearing.
Councilman Ronnie Bankston introduced the issue saying he's heard many complaints and it's time to deal with the problem. "I've had so many people call me about this," he said. "They tell me they call the law, but the law can't do anything because there is no ordinance on the books, Bankston added. Bankston wants to propose an ordinance with language to help law enforcement determine when a pair of pants hangs too low. "Law enforcement hands are tied when it comes to enforcing any type of punishment on individuals whose butts are hanging out of their pants," Bankston stated. "Passing this ordinance, as controversial as it may seem, will enable law enforcement to have some control. I am not trying to stop freedom of choice when it comes to clothing, I am only trying to protect the rights of others who don't wish to view other people's undergarments in a public environment. Therefore, I hope by passing this ordinance the wishes of the majority can be satisfied."
Councilman Lionell Wells said he also opposes sagging pants but voted against introducing the ordinance. "My concern is whether making it law is good use of law enforcement's time and about officer's ability to make the call on how low is too low," Wells stated.
Resident James Martin, questioned the council on what happens when girls and women wear their pants too low. "The ordinance would apply to all genders," Bankston said.
Bankston introduced his proposal, and Councilman Tom Tolar seconded the motion.
Bankston, Tolar, Carlo Bruno, Mike Petitto, Tennis Rick, and Carlos Notariano voted to introduce the measure. Councilman Wells cast the only vote against.
Bankston's proposal would make it illegal for anyone in a public place to be found in the state of nudity or partial nudity, or any indecent exposure of his or her undergarments due to sagging pants.
The first conviction would result in a warning, further convictions could result in a fine up to $500 and/or jail time for up to six months.