Rules for Female Montana Lawmakers: Watch Your Skirts, Necklines

New dress code is immediate object of scorn and ridicule
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 10, 2014 4:55 PM CST
Rules for Female Montana Lawmakers: Watch Your Skirts, Necklines
Rep. Austin Knudsen leads a Republican party news conference Jan. 9, 2014, in Helena, Montana.   (AP Photo/The Independent Record, Eliza Wiley)

Montana's state legislature convenes next month with a dress code in place for the first time, reports the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, an event that wouldn't be making headlines except for Rule No. 3: "Women should be sensitive to skirt lengths and necklines." To which female lawmakers are responding, You've got to be kidding me. “That phrase is right out of the 19th century, as far as I’m concerned,” Democratic House Minority Whip Jenny Eck tells the Billings Gazette. “Women can be trusted to get up in the morning and dress appropriately."

As for enforcement, "Would the sergeant of arms be the clothes police checking our skirt lengths and cleavage?” she wonders. The rule has drawn so much ridicule that the man who put in place, incoming Republican House Speaker Austin Knudsen, sounds open to ditching it. He says the idea of a dress code came from a female staffer, and the language itself was borrowed from Wyoming's legislature, reports Reuters. Even if Rule No. 3 goes, however, it looks like No. 7 is here to stay: "There are no casual Fridays or Saturdays." (More Montana stories.)

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