By Eric Boehm | Watchdog.org
Another Republican lawmaker is proving he’s a champion for limited government.
Okay, not really.
In fact, Montana state Dave Moore, R-Missoula, believes government should be big enough to control your clothing choices. He proposed legislation that would outlaw almost any skin-tight clothing — including things like yoga pants and Speedos — and would make it illegal for men to expose their nipples in public.
Moore’s crusade against tight clothing and partially naked men began last year, when he was apparently angered by a group of bicyclists who rode naked through Missoula, according to the Billings Gazette.
And if you dare to wear yoga pants or other tight-fitting clothing in Montana, Moore would like to see you thrown in jail — at least, he’s not opposed to it.
Moore said he wouldn’t have a problem with people being arrested for wearing provocative clothing, but that he’d trust law enforcement officials to use their discretion, the Gazette reported.
That’s good, because if police are known for anything, it’s being able to fairly enforce rules that are both ridiculous and vague, am I right?
As it stands now, indecent exposure in Montana carries a $500 fine for a first offense. A third offense can result in a $10,000 fine and — we’re not making this up — life in prison.
Life. In prison. For indecent exposure.
And Moore thinks that’s a law that needs to be more harsh than it already is?
There is no doubt naked men (particularly men from Montana) riding bikes through town is an image that will burn into the back of your eyes for a long time. And, yes, yoga pants probably shouldn’t be culturally acceptable outerwear for activities that don’t take place in a yoga studio.
As a state lawmaker, it’s perhaps understandable Moore sees this as a problem that can be solved with laws.
After all, when you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail.
Here’s the one bit of good news: Moore’s bill would eliminate the life-in-prison punishment and decrease it to a maximum of five years behind bars, which still seems a little harsh. He told the Gazette the reduction in punishment is meant to encourage enforcement of the law.
But this is nannyism run rampant — and literally running the risk of ruining peoples’ lives over poor fashion choices. If Republicans like Moore want to take the message of smaller government seriously, they should work to remove such excessive punishments from the books, not add to them.