Collinsville, IL. (KTVI-FOX2now.com)—
Pull up your pants when walking in Collinsville. A new ordinance outlawing saggy pants passed Monday night by a 3 to 2 vote. "I'm very disappointed this passed," said Mayor John Miller. He spoke passionately to his fellow council members asking them not to do so.
"It might be offensive to the people who are viewing it but it does not give people the right to criticize and make laws prohibiting it in a community," said Miller.
The council member who pushed for the ordinance says she only did what her constituents asked her to do. "We are supposed to represent the people and if there's a problem out there that they want us to address, then it is our duty as an elected official to address that," said Councilman Liz Dalton.
She said there's a simple explanation for why she pushed for the ban. "Most of the people are saying they're getting tired of looking at people's underwear," said Dalton.
Council member Mike Tognarelli asserted that saggy pants are a sign of gang activity. "Just ask your police," Tognarelli said.
Opponents fear the law will distract police from other priorities but supporters trust police to prioritize their work.
One young man wearing saggy pants said it was just a fashion statement.
"It's just the way people wear their pants," said Melvin Harris "Nobody should be offended."
The mayor said only one citizen asked him to support the ban so he doesn't feel it's what citizens really want. "I think it's very strange that we would spend taxpayers money to facilitate something that taxpayer's don't want," said Miller.
Miller also warned council members that if the ban is challenged in court then taxpayers would be on the hook defending the vote.
The first offense will carry a fine of up to $100 and community service. Repeat offenders could be fined $300 plus community service.
The ordinance will go into affect 10 days after the city publishes it. One city official says it should be published in the next couple days.