Is Penns Grove’s Saggy Pants Law a Stretch? [POLL/AUDIO]
One of the lawmaker's that represents Penns Grove calls its new saggy pants ordinance a stretch, and questions how easy it will be to enforce.
"The mayor (John Washington) is a very good friend and so is everybody on the council, but it seems that ordinance is very sweeping and very broad and it seems to me they're going to have trouble with definition," said Assemblyman John Burzichelli. "The legal people that gave them advice I guess are standing by for billable hours because that sounds like it would be open to challenge."
Under the ordinance, which was approved on Tuesday, people could face 40 hours of community service and face fines as much as $1,000 for wearing clothes in public that are considered offensive, indecent or unsafe. It includes anything that falls below the hips to reveal underwear. The fine for a first offense would be at least $25, but not more than $100. Repeat offenders could find themselves shelling out $1,000 in fines and doing community service.
A similar, but less sweeping law is in place in Wildwood.
"Their (Penns Grove officials) attempt is with good intention," said Burzichelli. "I'm certain of that, but the structure of the ordinance seems to be reaching to me."
Under the new law police don't have to write tickets. They can ask an offender to pull up their pants or leave the area. Burzichelli doesn't think the legislature needs to get involved in the issue.
"New Jersey prides itself on home rule," explained the Assemblyman. "I don't see that this rises to the legislature's attention or that a state law is necessary and some would question whether a municipal law is necessary, but the lawmakers in Penns Grove which I represent and have great affection for have seen circumstances that have called on them to take an action."