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Female Legislators Pushing Back Against Statehouse Dress Code


Kansas lawmakers have a lot of pressing issues to deal with. There’s the projected budget deficit. And the school finance and Medicaid expansion controversies. But “dress-code-gate” is dominating hall talk at the Statehouse today.

Sen. Mitch Holmes, the chairman of the Senate Ethics and Election Committee, wants to discourage women in the Statehouse from dressing provocatively. So, this week the St. John Republican imposed a dress code that urges them not to wear “distracting” miniskirts and blouses with plunging necklines.

Not surprisingly, he’s getting strong push back from several of his female colleagues, including Sen. Laura Kelly, a Topeka Democrat.

“Sexism is alive and well with some of my colleagues," Kelly said. "I mean, there was no suggestion that men needed any help deciding what to put on in the morning. It was targeted only at women. I think in 2016, that’s absurd.”

Holmes says he doesn’t really want to enforce the dress code. Instead, he wants women to self-regulate their appearance before showing up at committee meetings.