Saturday, August 15, 2009

G-strings, pasties, and the Alabama Legislature

Alabama's legislators did what they were asked to do in this week's special session. They pulled Jefferson County back from the brink of immediate financial disaster. They used federal money to extend unemployment benefits for the growing rolls of jobless Alabamians. And they made it easier for school districts to pay for school construction.

They also approved, without a dissenting vote, a bill including a lengthy provision about G-strings and pasties. It will become law the moment Gov. Bob Riley signs it.

Technically, the measure would regulate alcohol sales, or the lack thereof, in Houston County adult entertainment facilities. It's a policy matter about which I know less than nothing and therefore offer no opinion. Two things seem worth noting, though.

First, our state government's structure is such that lawmakers across Alabama weigh in on explicitly local issues like whether to allow drinking in a given county's strip clubs. And second, the following direct, possibly not-safe-for-work quote probably will appear soon in local law:

"Attire which is insufficient to comply with these requirements includes but is not limited to, those items known as G-strings, T-Backs, dental floss, and thongs. Body paint, body dye, tattoos, latex, 'pasties' tape, or any similar substance applied to the skin surface, any substance that can be washed off the skin, or any substance designed to simulate or which by its nature simulates the appearance of the anatomical area beneath it, is not full and opaque covering as required by this act."

In fairness, I should note that local laws for many counties appear to be unavailable online, so G-strings and pasties might well be on the books already. And for everyone's sake, I'll save the discussion about the various kinds of clefts that can be found in our state statutes for another day.

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