Dems cry foul over GOP-established dress code checking lawmakers’ skirt lengths and cleavage

In a decree that seemed simple enough, House Republican leadership in Montana established a dress code that says members of the legislature “are required to dress in formal business attire during the session.”

But Democrats objected, calling the request discriminatory, according to the Independent Record — you know, the whole “war on women” schtick.

pencil skirtsThe “strict new dress code,” as described by the newspaper, was embodied in a one-page pronouncement that included the offending passage:

“Women should be sensitive to skirt lengths and necklines.”

It’s not clear if they favor short skirts or low-cut necklines, but Democrats says women don’t need to be told how to dress.

“That phrase is right out of the 19th Century as far as I’m concerned,” House Minority Whip Jenny Eck said. “Women can be trusted to get up in the morning and dress appropriately. How would it be enforced? Would the sergeant of arms be the clothes police checking our skirt lengths and cleavage?”

The state of affairs in Montana must be relatively good.

The Democratic lawmaker said they were not consulted when the dress code was being established, according to the Independent Record.

“If we had been, we could have avoided this whole debacle,” Eck said. “All that needs to be said is: Please dress in formal business attire that is befitting the office you hold.”

Republican House Speaker Austin Knudsen said a female staffer asked for the dress code and he’s willing to make changes if there are legitimate concerns.

The dress requirements also apply to legislative staff, members of the media, interns and aides while on the House and Senate floors. That members of the media are included likely accounts for all the hoopla that has occurred since the dress code was announce last week.


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Tom Tillison


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