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Last Updated: Friday, 11 February 2005, 12:46 GMT
Virginia drops droopy pants bill
Rapper The Game exposing his underwear
Rapper The Game - a dedicated follower of the fashion
Virginia lawmakers have decided to drop a bill which would have fined people for letting their underwear show "in a lewd or indecent manner".

Youngsters exposing too much of their boxers or G-strings could be fined $50 (26), the "droopy pants" bill said.

But after the state house passed the bill on Tuesday, a Senate committee killed it unanimously two days later.

Republican Senator Kenneth Stolle, who chaired the committee, said the bill had become "a distraction".

Another Republican senator, Thomas K Norment, warned that media reports had ridiculed lawmakers by making them look as though they were focussing on futile topics.

"I find that an indignation, which dampens my humour," he said.

A small crowd of 75 government students from Surry County High School attended the committee hearing.

Racial discrimination?

One of them, 17-year-old Elvyn Shaw, said: "If people in Florida can wear bikinis, a little underwear showing isn't going to hurt anybody."

The habit of wearing low trousers was introduced by black youngsters, rappers and skateboarders in particular, but has become widely popular among young people of all races.

Democrat delegate Algie T Howell drafted his proposal after hearing people at his barber's shop complain about the trend and saying they felt offended by it.

Mr Howell did not comment right after the committee vote in which the bill was rejected.

The bill had already attracted criticism from a Democrat delegate, Lionell Spruill, who called it "foolish" - and urged fellow politicians to remember their own former embarrassments, including Afro haircuts, platform shoes and shiny polyester "shell suits".

"This is going to be a bill that targets blacks," he had warned.

"You know who they are going to stop."

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