Sen. Mitch Holmes, R-St. John and chairman of the Kansas Senate Ethics and Elections Committee, is tired of the distraction caused by provocatively clad females at the Statehouse.
A man of action, he is doing something about it. Holmes will not allow any woman testifying before his panel to wear anything but professional, respectful attire.
“For ladies, low-cut necklines and mini-skirts are inappropriate.”
Seriously, this is Rule No. 2 of an 11-point code of conduct Holmes now imposes in his committee room, according to a story in the Topeka Capital-Journal. He thought about giving similar guidance to men but didn’t because he didn’t believe they required such instruction.
The inference, of course, is that women do.
Holmes, a freshman senator who also has six years experience in the House, has spent his time in Topeka offering “guidance” for female behavior by sponsoring legislation on sexual oriented businesses, abortion restrictions, stem cell research and his support of 200-plus years of Judeo-Christian tradition. He does believe women can handle guns, as none of his Second Amendment work ever has excepted females from owning, operating or carrying as much firepower as they desire.
The dress code has caused quite the firestorm on social media, with many likening it to Sharia Law and its imposition on women to wear burkas.
Female colleagues in the Legislature expressed incredulity at Holmes’ new rule.
“Oh, for crying out loud, what century is this?” said Sen. Laura Kelly, D-Topeka.
“Who’s going to define low-cut?” said Sen. Vicki Schmidt, R-Topeka. “Does it apply to senators?”
When asked by the Capital-Journal reporter about the minimum length a skirt should be or what constituted a low-cut neckline, Holmes offered: “It’s one of those things that’s hard to define. 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.”
We believe Sen. Holmes needs to keep his eyes to himself — and his thoughts. If he can’t keep his mind on the business at hand simply because of what a witness is wearing, he is allowing himself to be distracted. Blaming a woman for being the object of his attention is classic misogynistic behavior.
We’re not sure if this rule is precursor to a proposed KOBA, or Kansas Open Blouse Act, but we believe the senator needs to rescind it. Holmes needs to remind himself that if a rule or law is not applicable to all Kansans, it likely is flawed.
The 33rd District senator is being distracted by the thoughts in his own head, not the clothes of people in front of him.
Editorial by Patrick Lowry