Kansas lawmaker bans revealing attire for female witnesses

Kansas Senate President Susan Wagle, left, of Wichita, consults with Sen. Mitch Holmes, right, of St. John, following a caucus of Republican senators, Wednesday, May 8, 2013, at the Statehouse in Topeka, Kan.

AP Photo/John Hanna

TOPEKA, Kan. -- A Kansas Senate committee chairman has imposed a dress code that prohibits women testifying on an elections or ethics bill from wearing certain clothing while establishing no wardrobe restrictions exclusively for men.

The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that a rule of state Sen. Mitch Holmes' 11-point code of conduct says "low-cut necklines and miniskirts" are inappropriate for women.

Holmes says he offered detailed guidance to women because he had observed provocatively clad women at the state Capitol. He says it's a distraction to the Senate committee during testimony.

A group of bipartisan women senators says no chairman ought to place gender-specific demands on those inspired to share thoughts on public policy with legislative committees.

"Oh, for crying out loud, what century is this?" said Democratic Sen. Laura Kelly, according to the newspaper.

Added Republican Sen. Carolyn McGinn: "I am more interested in what they have to say about the direction our state should go than what they're wearing that day."

Holmes is the Republican chairman of the Senate Ethics and Elections Committee.