Archive for Friday, January 22, 2016

Kansas senator blocks testimony from female witnesses with ‘low-cut necklines and miniskirts’

State legislator Mitch Holmes, a Republican from St. John, is pictured in the Kansas Statehouse in this file photo from 2011.

State legislator Mitch Holmes, a Republican from St. John, is pictured in the Kansas Statehouse in this file photo from 2011.

January 22, 2016, 8:06 a.m. Updated January 22, 2016, 5:23 p.m.

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— A dress code imposed by a Kansas Senate committee chairman that prohibits women testifying on bills from wearing low-cut necklines and miniskirts is drawing bipartisan ridicule from female legislators.

Sen. Mitch Holmes’ 11-point code of conduct does not include any restrictions on men, who he said needed no instruction on how to look professional, The Topeka Capital-Journal reported.

“Oh, for crying out loud, what century is this?” Sen. Laura Kelly, a Topeka Democrat, said Thursday.

Holmes, a 53-year-old Republican from St. John who is chairman of the Senate Ethics and Elections Committee, said he wrote the instruction because provocatively dressed women are a distraction. The guidelines don’t detail a minimum skirt length or a permissible neckline for blouses.

Sen. Mitch Holmes, R-St. John

Sen. Mitch Holmes, R-St. John

“It’s one of those things that’s hard to define,” Holmes said. “Put it out there and let people know we’re really looking for you to be addressing the issue rather than trying to distract or bring eyes to yourself.”

Holmes said he considered requiring men to wear suits and ties during testimony but decided males didn’t need any guidance. He expects lobbyists to understand the rules when interacting with his committee, although he acknowledged infrequent visitors to the Statehouse might be unaware.

Female senators said no one should impose gender-specific demands on those testifying before committees.

“Who’s going to define low-cut?” said Sen. Vicki Schmidt, a Topeka Republican. “Does it apply to senators?”

Sen. Carolyn McGinn, a Sedgwick Republican, said people who don’t have clothes that meet Holmes’ standards might be deterred from testifying.

“I am more interested in what they have to say about the direction our state should go than what they’re wearing that day,” McGinn said.

Wichita Sen. Oletha Faust-Goudeau, the ranking Democrat on the Senate’s elections and ethics committee, said people testifying before committees ought to present themselves in a professional way but she was put off by the lack of consistency for men and women.

“In my 13 years in the Legislature, that’s the first time I’ve ever read anything like that,” Faust-Goudeau said. “I thought it was a little strange.”

Senate President Susan Wagle, a Wichita Republican, predicted the committee will reconsider the dress code Wednesday at its next meeting. Wagle, who is a member of the committee but wasn’t present when the rules were given to members, indicated she isn’t inclined to intervene personally.

“The legislative process eventually always evolves to a consensus of the majority without leadership having to take action,” she told The Associated Press.

Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley, a Topeka Democrat, told the AP that the “irony” of the dress code was that it came from a committee that “should be more concerned about violations of campus finance law than what women wear.”

“Coming from a man, I think it’s important that women are supported in the choices that they make for themselves,” he said.

Comments

Mary Darst 1 year, 10 months ago

You have got t be kidding me? This is the most rediculas thing I have ever heard. This just makes me laugh. Just what does this guy consider a low cut neckline is? Or a short skirt? Dude, worry about the state of the state.....you are wasting time on this.

Rob Mark 1 year, 10 months ago

My guess is that he's a repressed type who really wants to inspect neck and hem lines.

Bob Forer 1 year, 10 months ago

Time to move to a more progessive state. My first choices are Mississippi, Alabama and Arkansas.

Renee Patrick 1 year, 10 months ago

This article actually made it to the "weird news" section of a Missouri newspaper.

David Reber 1 year, 10 months ago

Makes me want to show up to testify wearing a low-cut neckline and miniskirt. That would be fine, of course, because I'm a guy.

Sam Crow 1 year, 10 months ago

I just threw up in my mouth a little.

Greg Cooper 1 year, 10 months ago

Which is what you should do whenever these guys pull these stunts in the first place, no matter what the issue.

Bob Forer 1 year, 10 months ago

Your post, Sam, just reminded me of the number of bigoted and backward thinking folks we have in Kansas........I just threw up.....and a lot...I couldn't hold it in my mouth.

Jesse Thompson 1 year, 10 months ago

Does the Honorable Sam Crow know you continue to sully his good name?

Bob Forer 1 year, 10 months ago

I interviewed with Judge Crow for a judicial clerkship many years ago. The only thing i recall is that he was a very aloof and slighy arrogant man who wore a diamond pinkie ring.

Barb Gordon 1 year, 10 months ago

He claims not to be the same guy, although that doesn't answer whether or not anyone actually named Sam Crow knows he's sullying their name.

Phillip Chappuie 1 year, 10 months ago

So the guy that runs an Ethics committee has a gender bias? Who made him the king of community standards? The stupidity that seeps from Topeka is amazing.

Cille King 1 year, 10 months ago

Kansas joins other state's legislatures in offering SNL material:

“The Missouri legislature has been in crisis mode in recent months after two lawmakers resigned over allegations of sexually inappropriate conduct toward interns. Their colleagues are now trying to figure out how best to continue the intern program, and a top suggestion that has emerged is to mandate a "conservative" dress code to avoid tempting legislators into improper behavior.” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/missouri-intern-dress-code_us_55d33b79e4b07addcb4402db

““That phrase is right out of the 19th century as far as I’m concerned,” 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? “ http://missoulian.com/news/local/strict-dress-code-for-montana-legislature-draws-ire-satire/article_594063fb-0e0e-5ee2-a032-b66b090c38f8.html

“Rewriting indecency laws isn't one of Montana's more pressing issues. The danger in bills like the one ignominiously killed isn't just that they waste time. Bills like this one only reinforce the notion that the Legislature is nothing more than a collection of nuts. How are we supposed to take folks seriously when they propose laws that try to regulate human nipples?” http://billingsgazette.com/news/opinion/editorial/gazette-opinion/gazette-opinion-what-is-it-with-lawmakers-and-dress-codes/article_b4920c72-08f6-5876-8838-54ac08f399a7.html

Bob Forer 1 year, 10 months ago

Nice, especially when we remember that this tune came out of the sixties. My, have we regressed.

Ken Easthouse 1 year, 10 months ago

So, a woman must correct her attire because she might "distract" the men? Does that mean these gentlemen are so weak-willed that they admit to being so easily distracted by any woman wearing a miniskirt and low-cut blouse? I would argue that anyone so weak isn't fit to be in Senate leadership.

Scott Callahan 1 year, 10 months ago

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Tracy Rogers 1 year, 10 months ago

The state is going into a financial toilet and he's worried about what women are wearing?? Come on people, vote these idots out!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Lynn Grant 1 year, 10 months ago

Perhaps, Sen. "Lost in the Fifties" Holmes needs to review his own ethics. If he can't do his job because of a woman in a short skirt, he maybe shouldn't be in that job.

Greg Cooper 1 year, 10 months ago

That's funny, now that you think about it, Rob.

Bob Forer 1 year, 10 months ago

That's because he is too preoccupied peeking under the trees.

Richard Aronoff 1 year, 10 months ago

If the people who produce Saturday Night Live wanted to take a break they could broadcast Kansas legislative sessions.

Bob Forer 1 year, 10 months ago

We will have to wait until they bring back Tina Fey for a cameo.

Ronald Grover 1 year, 10 months ago

Are you sure these guys are Republican? They sound like Taliban to me.

Chris Warman 1 year, 10 months ago

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Kathleen Christian 1 year, 10 months ago

I happen to somewhat AGREE with him. There should standards in the way men and women dress when addressing something important when it comes to the State. It is ridiculous the way some people have no respect for the way they look in professionalism. AND lets face it most men will always be a man and most find themselves attracted to women. How the heck do you think some woman have been able to persuade men in the past by their womanly wiles. Let's be honest where honesty is needed. Its human nature. I don't think women need to be flashing their cleavage or their thighs in a professional setting. And men need to wear clean button up shirts instead of T-shirts (with or without designs and logos). I think most of the younger generation dress like slobs and have no respect in the way they look. Not that all this is the main importance but it does set a positive atmosphere and allows people to feel more at ease so they can get down to business. I know I feel uncomfortable when I go into a meeting only to find someone in a dirty t-shirt or someone who smells of nasty body odor and suppose to take what they say seriously. It makes me have to work extra hard just to digest what they are saying and if it is valid. Afterall if they don't know how to dress appropriately how do I know if they know how to organize their thoughts in a professional way? The younger generation just have not and are not taught proper etiquette. Just sayin.... so let the haters come forth I don't care... this is my story and I'm sticking to it.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 1 year, 10 months ago

Oh, sure. The old "boys will be boys" crud. You can look professional in a short skirt too. We have to wear uniforms? And I'm a 63 year old woman, who wears maxi skirts.

He isn't banning shorts and sweats. This is all about men who have not been taught to control themselves, and want to blame it on women. I suppose you blame the rape victim for dressing in yoga pants or gets drunk. If you have a son, please don't let him anywhere near my granddaughters. It doesn't sound like you are teaching him to treat women like humans, and not like sex objects.

And let's define short. How short. Below the knee? To the floor? Are pant suits out? And are only turtle necks allowed? Maybe well endowed women or nursing women need to bind themselves tight, so there isn't any bulge, and the men aren't "distracted".

If this dirty old man can't control himself, he needs to resign.

David Reber 1 year, 10 months ago

You can argue that professional attire is respectful, proper etiquette, etc., all you want. And, you may very well be right. But, that is completely irrelevant.

This isn't just about attacking women. Yes, women are singled out....because folks like this hate them extra a lot and such.....but what about homeless people? Or working poor folks who can't afford "professional attire"? Are these folks not allowed to testify at a committee hearing?

I'm no lawyer, but I don't see anything in the 1st Amendment putting a "professional attire" requirement on that last part......

Bob Forer 1 year, 10 months ago

"I think most of the younger generation dress like slobs and have no respect in the way they look."

Actually, Kathleen, most of these folks have a lot of respect for themselves; they want to wear what is comfortable and don't feel the need to "fit in" as they are proud of their individuality. Instead, it is people like you whom they don't respect --the type who superficially judge others by what they wear and how much money they have, and whether they subscribe to your narrow minded view as how the world should be.

Tom Atchity 1 year, 10 months ago

" I think most of the younger generation dress like slobs and have no respect in the way they look."...

Did the townsfolk from Footloose escape from the film and start writing on the LJWorld message board?

Bob Forer 1 year, 10 months ago

That, or there are too many Reverend Shaw Moores out there.

Renee Patrick 1 year, 10 months ago

First, you could tell if they can organize their thoughts in a professional way by listening to them speak. They could be nude and still have organized professional thoughts. The two aren't linked by any neuronal connections that I am aware - clothing and brain function. I have a personal bias against dusty mustaches, but would never suggest that a person cannot be taken seriously or should not present themselves before the legislature unless completely clean shaven.

Greg Cooper 1 year, 10 months ago

This is not about dress codes, it's about a guy who has no respect for women. The fact that a woman is attractive, or feels that way, no matter how she is dressed (to a limit) has nothing to do with her and all to do with him and his lack of respect for that woman's feelings of self worth and image.

Just as an aside, does any woman ever complain when a man wears a tailored suit? Does any woman complain when a man has obviously taken the time and effort to shape his body and wear clothing that accentuates his physique? For heaven's sake, we are a species that has to attract one another to continue living. Why is it that this guy can suggest times when women--or men--are allowed to present themselves as they feel best?

Get off the fake concern wagon, Mr. Holmes, and get down to the task of making this state better.

By the way, take a look at his Facebook page, just for kicks.

Bob Forer 1 year, 10 months ago

"It's one of those things that's hard to define," Holmes said. "Put it out there and let people know we're really looking for you to be addressing the issue rather than trying to distract or bring eyes to yourself."

If that's your problem, buddy, then it sounds like you need to attend church a little more often, and perhaps get a little marriage counseling, because it's obvious you really don't love your wife.

Bob Forer 1 year, 10 months ago

I am mistaken. Nothing can make you love someone that you don't already love. If you don't love her, divorce is the only solution. On the other hand, if you simply don't respect her, then your wife needs to divorce you.

Bob Forer 1 year, 10 months ago

It is somewhat disturbing that this idiocy draw outrage from women legislators on both sides of the aisle, but little to none from the men. Proof positive that our two party system does not represent the people, as women comprise 51 percent of the people.

Bob Forer 1 year, 10 months ago

This man's guidelines and comments are so unequivocally backward and sexist that it cries for a unanimous censure from any rational thinker who lives in the 21st century. Is that going to happen in this State House? ...... yeah, and I might win the lottery.

Cait McKnelly 1 year, 10 months ago

Isn't there an amendment to the state constitution that bans "sharia law"?

Bob Forer 1 year, 10 months ago

LOL, Cait. Your comment just sent the hypocrisy exposure meter all the way to 110; and the meter only goes to 100. I think you broke it. Good work. :):)

Bob Forer 1 year, 10 months ago

Regarding the update to the story:

Damn, the fact that Susan Wagle is not jumping on the Holmes bandwagon speaks volumes about his backwardness. I didn't think one could get much more bigoted than Wagle. .

Will White 1 year, 10 months ago

You have to laugh. That is not how we need our public servants to use our tax dollars

Bob Forer 1 year, 10 months ago

Can we cry? Can we both laugh and cry?

Zoe Flowers 1 year, 10 months ago

At least they should have required all men to make sure their fly is zipped up. Could be distracting to some members of both sexes.

Jonathan Becker 1 year, 10 months ago

And we are paying a per diem to Senator Distraction??? I want my money back. . . .

Michael Kort 1 year, 10 months ago

This guy needs to go Into the bathroom, turn on the light and look in the mirror .

I promise him that he will see the only person that can ever make him do anything that is evil or think any thought that might be of an evil nature,.........behold the antichrist.....or the good guy......it isn't under the bed.....behind some door.....or sneaking around as anybody else,...... but it is us, as we are, in the mirror .

That is the true person who chooses our behavior and what we stand for or stoop down to doing .

Scott Burkhart 1 year, 10 months ago

I will defend the GOP on fiscal policies. I will defend the GOP on pro-life issues because I see them as "human rights" issues. There is no doubt by anyone that reads these threads about my conservatism. THIS IDIOT NEEDS TO BE RECALLED AND SENT BACK TO THE MIDDLE AGES WHERE HE BELONGS!!

Bob Forer 1 year, 10 months ago

Thanks for your comments, Scott. I may disagree with you on most issues, but at least I have a modicum of respect for intellectually honest conservatives.

Kevin Millikan 1 year, 10 months ago

I have a question... What year is it in Kansas? I will make sure my daughter knows that women are not respected in Kansas, and not to accept a job there. I guess that's what you voted for.

Bob Forer 1 year, 10 months ago

We are not in Kansas anymore. We have regressed to the midwest territories.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 1 year, 10 months ago

The more I think about it, this might be a planned distraction. Get people thinking about a pompous so and so, instead of the revenue shortfall and the total mismanagement of our state.

Bob Summers 1 year, 10 months ago

Why do Liberals want women showing legs and cleavage in the office?

In fact. Why do Liberal women want to expose themselves like this? Are they fishing to claim sexual harassment charges?

Bob Forer 1 year, 10 months ago

What is it about the sight of a woman's legs that bothers you. Do to have irresistible impulses that you are unable to control?

Instead of going to years of therapy let me just suggest that you try to respect women. Trust me, once you learn to respect them as human beings, your serial adultery of lust will wither away.

Bob Summers 1 year, 10 months ago

You're the one wanting more. Why is that?

Bob Forer 1 year, 10 months ago

Its not about me. Its about allowing women to decide for themselves what is best for them. Remember. This is America. Freedom of Choice? Ever hear of that? Perhaps you might be better suited living amongst the Taliban. They have strict rules to "protect" their woman. And if their women don't follow their "advice" they are apt to be stoned to death.

Bob Summers 1 year, 10 months ago

Since you're avoiding the question, I guess you're embarrassed to answer.

If a woman decided for herself to go to work topless you would be fine with that.

Since you are looking out for women, you'd be all for that.

Ken Easthouse 1 year, 10 months ago

It's because it's none of our business what they wear. Pantsuit? Fine. Miniskirt? Fine. Tank top? Fine. I don't want to control what a woman can and cannot do.

Genevieve Voigt 1 year, 10 months ago

  1. Men help perpetuate a culture that shames anyone that isn't "sexy."
  2. People are allowed to look attractive. Us ladies have been managing to ignore the distraction of men's musculature. Why can't these losers ignore our boobs and legs?
  3. It would be highly appreciated if men would stop insinuating that women only have 2-3 attractive body parts. Some good men out there might consider our faces, hands, necks, etc to be beautiful as well.
  4. If men get to cover women, I'd really appreciate if men had to cover their faces. I really can't be expected to focus at work if there's a chance I'd be attracted to someone.

Michael Kort 1 year, 10 months ago

Great idea for future Ks. state auto license plates .

How about ? : .................. SASNAK : " The Backwards State !!! " .

The idea fits the behavior of most of our legislature in Topeka and many who voted for them or who simply chose not to vote .

Richard Heckler 1 year, 10 months ago

I wonder if this man Holmes has had any children out of wedlock?

And now blames women for his behavior.

Richard Heckler 1 year, 10 months ago

Can we say that extreme discrimination exists in the kansas legislature?

John Hampton 1 year, 10 months ago

This story has made national news. There's a large segment of people in this state that can't conduct their daily lives without bringing shame to the state. Again and again.

As someone who has traveled a large majority of their working lives, I find it embarrassing to answer the eventual question of "So, where are you from?"

Mark Jakubauskas 1 year, 10 months ago

Mental image of Senator Holmes with a ruler measuring cleavage..... (shudder)

Richard Heckler 1 year, 10 months ago

Measuring might distract him from his peeping tom escapades as he eyeballs under skirts and down the fronts.

Genevieve Voigt 1 year, 10 months ago

Slight headline edit: "Elderly male lawmakers admit to ogling cleavage, legs"

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