Florida Senate gets into act on saggy-pants ban

Senate gets into act on saggy-pants ban

Friday, March 14, 2008

http://www.palmbeachpost.com/state/content/state/epaper/2008/03/14/a10a_xgr_rail_0314.html?cxtype=rss&cxsvc=7&cxcat=0

(Palm Beach Post) – TALLAHASSEE — Kids who repeatedly wear droopy drawers to school would get suspended under a bill approved by the Florida Senate.

Under the measure, first-time offenders whose underwear sticks out of their trousers would get a talking-to from school officials and a letter sent home to their parents or guardians informing them of the violation.

Students who persist in wearing baggy pants a second or third time would receive in-school suspensions.

After that, they would be suspended from school and sent home.

Despite questions about whether the proposal (SB 302) is constitutional, the bill passed by a 28-11 vote.

"I don’t know where this bill will go. But I do know that as leaders we must send a message to young people in our society to let them understand that there are rules that you must be governed by," said Sen. Larcenia Bullard, D-Miami, speaking in favor of the bill.

On Tuesday, voters in Riviera Beach overwhelmingly approved a new law that would make it a crime to wear pants that show skin or underwear.

The first offense carries a $150 fine or community service. A second infraction carries a $300 fine or more community service.

Palm Beach Kennel Club would get to hold more greyhound races and make more money under a bill that unanimously passed the House Job & Entrepreneurship Council.

The bill (HB 1013), sponsored by Rep. Richard Machek, D-Boca Raton, would allow three Florida clubs to convert their permits for now-defunct jai-alai clubs to greyhound racing permits.

The bill applies only to operations that haven’t hosted jai-alai for 10 years but have a valid permit. Businesses in Tampa, Daytona and West Palm Beach could qualify, Machek said.

Once the permit is transferred, it cannot be converted back to cover jai-alai.

Machek said he hopes the bill "fends off someone’s thought about going down to Broward County where the Seminoles are."

A bipartisan group of lawmakers is backing a proposal that would allow voters who do not have a party affiliation to cast ballots in presidential primaries.

But the bill’s Senate sponsor acknowledged that getting the legislature to pass the measure would be an uphill battle.

"We’ll be lucky if we get hearings on this," said Sen. Paula Dockery, R-Lakeland.

In Florida, the fastest-growing group of registered voters is those who choose no party affiliation. Currently, there are about 2 million voters registered as NPA.

Passage of the bills (SB 2726, HB 1189) would help resolve the increasing division between Democrats and Republicans, supporters said.

"There are millions of (NPA voters) and right now they are disenfranchised when it comes to the presidential primaries," said Sen. Dave Aronberg, D-Greenacres, who co-sponsored the proposal.

"If they are able to vote, you will see greater political participation. You will see less cynicism. And you will see less partisanship."

Census forms in Creole: Bay resansman gouvenman federal-a nan lang Kreyol.

That’s what lawmakers said Thursday when they moved forward with bills that urge the federal government to make census forms available in Creole in 2010, the next time the census is conducted.

Currently, forms for the census are to be available in five languages in addition to English: Spanish, Russian, Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese. A guide that helps people fill out the English form will be available in another 50 languages, including Creole, though the census form itself will not be, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Federal officials estimated that 762,000 Haitians were living in the U.S. in 2006, the most recent data available. That compares to the overall U.S. population of about 303 million.

Identical bills (HB 439, SB 1454) recommending that census forms be produced in Creole are moving through the House and Senate. Both bills were approved by House and Senate committees on Thursday.– Compiled from reports by staff writers Dara Kam, Laura Green and The Associated Press

Worry about real crime

Original Link

Friday, March 14, 2008

Yes, a high school student was abducted Tuesday morning at a bus stop in Riviera Beach by three men who drove her around for hours and sexually assaulted her.

But that very same day, voters heeded Mayor Thomas Masters’ call for a referendum making it a crime to wear baggy pants in the city. So, rejoice, Riviera Beach; your crime problems are solve

The contrast in seriousness between what happened to that young woman and the droopy-drawers gimmick Mayor Masters championed is sickening. If anything, enforcing the baggy pants law will waste precious police time and sour relations between police on the street and people who might provide useful information – for example, about who abducted the girl.

As a practical matter, police in many cities may need to increase early-morning patrols since the ridiculously early switch to daylight-saving time has put so many children on the streets before dawn. By the way, it would be a great idea if the authorities in Riviera Beach immediately notified school officials when such a brazen, outrageous unnacceptable crime occurs. Instead, they waited 18 hours to report details – to make sure that the victim’s account was "credible."

Everything from the Virginia Tech shootings to the Town Center mall murders in Boca Raton points to the importance of quickly communicating with the public. For goodness sakes, get the word out so people can take precautions. Obviously, parents overall should take responsibility for bus stop supervision, and school districts should make sure that buses arrive on time as often as possible.

Oh, wait. We forgot. There’s no need to worry. Not only has Mayor Masters asked residents to turn on their porch lights near school bus stops, the Florida Senate on Thursday approved a bill requiring schools to suspend saggy-pants repeat offenders. If the Legislature will just pass that law, schools across the state can be as crime-free as Riviera Beach.

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