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‘Saggy pants’ ban could soon be dropped in Opa-Locka

Commission votes to repeal original legislation, ordinance for wearing drooping drawers

A sign for the baggy pants ordinance is posted in an Opa-Locka park. Tamanoeconomico/creativecommons.org - https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0
A sign for the baggy pants ordinance is posted in an Opa-Locka park. Tamanoeconomico/creativecommons.org - https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0 (Creative Commons)

OPA-LOCKA, Fla. – You may be able to start wearing “saggy pants” in Opa-Locka again.

The Opa-locka City Commission voted Wednesday on a 4-1 vote to repeal both the original 2007 legislation and a 2013 ordinance that said women, not just men, could receive civil citations for wearing pants that exposed their undergarments.

The Miami Herald reports that the vote was a first reading of the repeal, meaning it will need to be approved again at a subsequent commission meeting before it’s official. But the item was co-sponsored by four of the five commissioners.

Around the city, signs still warn folks of the ordinance — they show an image of two young men wearing pants below their waists and featuring the words: “No ifs, ands or butts ... It’s the city law!”

“I was never in support of it, even as a resident,” Vice Mayor Chris Davis, who sponsored the repeal, told the newspaper. “I felt it disproportionately affected a certain segment of our population, which is young, African-American men.”

When the ordinance was first passed, the ACLU of Florida called it a “ridiculous waste of public resources,” saying it would “impose overly harsh penalties for victimless behavior” and disproportionately affect Black youths.

Talk show host Dr. Laura Schlessinger wrote a blog in support of the ban when the city extended it in 2010.

Read Opa-Locka’s ’Saggy Pants’ Ordinance

In the city’s current code of ordinances, Sec. 16-33 states rules and regulations on the “ban on wearing saggy apparel in public facilities.”

(a) It shall be unlawful for an individual (male or female) to wear saggy pants or slacks apparel wherein underwear or under garments are exposed in city buildings and parks. Females, as well, shall also be banned from wearing saggy shirt or blouse apparel. Neither males nor females shall wear saggy apparel such as to constitute indecent exposure.

(b) The ban shall also extend to all places of businesses within the city. All merchants and shopkeepers are to enforce the terms set forth in subsection (a).

(c) Penalties for violation. All violations of this section charged by the police department shall be referred to the city’s special master for adjudication, in accordance with the city’s rules therefore. Any person found by the special master to have committed a violation of this section shall be punished by a fine of not more than five hundred dollars ($500.00). Where a minor is found to have violated this section, the fine imposed by this section shall be assessed against such minor’s parents or legal guardian.

As an alternative to, or in addition to, the fine set forth herein, the special master may, in his/her discretion, order the defendant to perform monitored community service, not to exceed twenty-five (25) hours for any single violation.


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