Friday, March 14, 2008

Lawmakers on Crack

The Florida Legislature is supposed to be dealing with some very weighty matters, like school funding, property taxes, and the budget deficit left behind by Jeb Bush, but apparently the most pressing issue is how teenagers wear their clothes.

A bill to punish students who wear sagging pants that expose their back ends or sexual organs passed the Senate Thursday 28-11 after the two sponsors said it was needed to send kids a signal that they need to dress for success.

”I believe we must send a clear message that there are rules in this society that dictate that if you intended to get a job in a professional environment, you will not get that job with your underwear hanging over your trousers,” said Sen. Larcenia Bullard, a Miami Democrat and co-sponsor of the measure.

The bill requires that schools enforce the following penalties: first offense, a verbal warning from the principal; second offense, three days of in-school suspension; third, 10 days in-school suspension; fourth, 10 days out-of-school suspension.

The tone of the Senate debate was more serious than it was on Wednesday, when jeering and jokes provoked talk about the bill ”opening the door just a little crack” and senators’ comments being ”brief.”

But sponsor Sen. Gary Siplin, an Orlando Democrat, called it a ”pro-family, pro-education, pro-employment bill.” He said the fad began in prisons among inmates and kids should not be repeating it.

Opponents said they didn’t like the bill because they believe parents should be their children’s clothes police, not schools.

No wonder the voters have such a low opinion of their elected officials when they spend their time on such half-assed measures as this.