GOP also decrees: Don’t get caught in fleece, jersey, or open-toed sandals
The TEA Party House Republican leadership of the 2015 legislature has issued a new edict, the first of its kind that I have seen.
Because they love freedom and personal liberty, they’ve issued a formal mandatory dress code for anyone who seeks to be allowed into the House floor. Besides demanding “business formal” dress, the new decree calls on women to mind their necklines and skirt lengths. House GOP leadership are empowered to police the new edict.
This important policy is written in all capital letters, of course, because what else would you expect from world-class leaders.
Since this new dress code is not particularly clear, the Cowgirl Blog has provided a handy guide below. After all, the dress code is not just for legislators but also for “LEGISLATIVE STAFF, MEMBERS OF THE MEDIA, INTERNS AND AIDES” who “MUST ALSO ABIDE BY THIS POLICY IF ON THE FLOOR WHILE THE BODIES ARE GAVELED INTO SESSION.”
Once you see what’s in the dress code, it’s clear it is targeted at women–and probably reporters. After all, reporters are really the only people who can access the house floor besides the legislators’ own staff–and a handful of high school “pages.” Last session, reporters were required for the first time to get special permission or “passes” to be on the House Floor at all. Then the next thing we know, the senate president is looking into evicting the Associated Press from its capital office. Now this. But let’s get right to the dress code. There are eight rules in the edict, however, rule #6 was not released and we must presume it is being kept secret for some reason.
UPDATE: GOP Speaker of the House Austin Knudsen is now blaming his staffer for the dresscode, as you can see in the Bozeman Chronicle article that just came out.
First, women are ordered to be “SENSITIVE TO SKIRT LENGTHS AND NECKLINES.”
(No similar guidance was provided to men to be mindful of tight or sagging pants and hideously short eagle-carrying-an-assault-rifle-in-its-beak neckties.)
The dress code also bans leggings. The legging ban may be a dig at the young women of Skyview High School who are fighting a dress code policy that unfairly targets young women in Billings.
So leggings are out, as are open toed sandals. However, under this dress code concealed carry holsters under beige suits with bolo ties would definitely be okay –at least once the legislature passes the obligatory “concealed carry for everyone” bill the TEA Party introduces every year.
Next, I see that “FLEECE AND JERSEY (SWEATSHIRT) MATERIAL ARE NOT CONSIDERED “BUSINESS FORMAL.” Somebody needs to tell the dudes that wrote this that jersey and sweatshirt material are two entirely different things, but alas until then the rule stands. Jersey tops like this are banned:
While this polyester number as shown on former TEA Party Sen. Joe Balyeat is just dandy:
It also appears that men and women are required to wear suits, or suit jackets at all times or, for women “a suit-like dress” may be worn, whatever that is. Unfortunately, that means some of the clothing worn by GOP lawmakers in their own official legislative photos does not meet the new code.
This attire on GOP Rep. Christie Clark is now banned:
Also banned would be any reporter who showed up to help inform the public dressed like this – as cardigans have been nixed:
The dress code also specifies that “JEANS OR DENIM MATERIAL, INCLUDING COLORED DENIM, IS NOT ALLOWED.” Which means the apparel worn by TEA Party Rep. Nancy Ballance would be banned:
No mention is made of Colonel Sanders ties, but this must be an oversight and I expect further guidance on this Montana Legislature wardrobe staple soon (shown on former TEA Party Rep. Alan Hale).
GOP leaders state that legislators must “COMPORT THEMSELVES IN A MANNER THAT RESPECTS THE LEGISLATIVE INSTITUTION AND THAT INCLUDES THE FORMALITY OF DRESS EXPECTED IN THE CHAMBER.”
But it when it comes to requiring respectful behavior, there are some who would say this dress code appears to be geared more toward cracking down on women than on respectful behavior from men.
(I mean, it certainly would make everyone happier if men were more sensitive about the length of athletic shorts worn at the house/senate basketball game and if all Looney Tunes and Tasmanian devil ties were burned – but the dress code makes no mention of these.)
Instead of forcing backward modesty standards on women, here are some guidelines that the 64th Legislature would do better to adopt:
1. Legislators shall not refer to women as livestock, farm equipment, or household pets – and when debating a bill on breast cancer prevention, shall not berate their colleagues for supporting the “boob bill.”
2. Legislators shall take a breathalyzer test before they are allowed a vote, since they seem to think drug tests should be mandated on poor families.
3. High school pages shall be allowed to learn about the legislative process and not relegated to fetching 57 ice-cream sandwiches a day while being ogled creepily.
Bozeman Chronicle reporter Troy Carter tweeted a reaction from House minority whip Rep. Jenny Eck (D-Helena) this morning. Eck said dems had nothing to do with the dress code.