Virginia Drops Underpants Bill

Virginia lawmakers dropped their droopy-pants bill Thursday after the whole thing became just too embarrassing.

The bill, which would have slapped a $50 fine on people who wear their pants so low that their underwear is visible in "a lewd or indecent manner," passed the state House on Tuesday but was killed by a Senate committee two days later in a unanimous vote.

Republican Sen. Thomas K. Norment said news reports implied that lawmakers were preoccupied with droopy pants.

"I find that an indignation, which dampens my humor," Norment said.

Republican Sen. Kenneth Stolle, the committee chairman, called the bill "a distraction."

The committee hearing drew a standing-room-only crowd that included about 75 government students from Surry County High School.

"If people in Florida can wear bikinis, a little underwear showing isn't going to hurt anybody," 17-year-old Elvyn Shaw said.

The bill's sponsor, Democratic Delegate Algie T. Howell, declined to answer reporters' questions Thursday but issued a statement saying the bill "was in direct response to a number of my constituents who found this to be a very important issue."

He has said the constituents included customers at his barbershop who were offended by exposed underwear.

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