Greengrove City (AGN)--Anti-grunge lobbyists won a key victory today as "Larry's Law" passed the State Senate today by a unanimous vote. If enacted, the bill will outlaw the manufacture, sale, distribution, possession, and use of miniskirts and dresses of similar length throughout the state effective November 1.
"I will not allow my son to have died in vain," said Mrs. Roxanne Klew, the prime catalyst behind the bill. Mrs. Klew's six-year-old son, Larry, was skateboarding down Main Street in Water's Edge when a car driven by Linda Ertyuio hit him, killing him instantly. Mrs. Klew, who watched in horror from her living room window, saw Ertyuio emerge from her vehicle wearing a miniskirt. "I knew I had to take action when I saw that," she told reporters.
At a news conference, Mrs. Klew, her husband Sam, and Larry's three-year-old sister Kate all held photographs of a smiling Larry taken at his last birthday party, and they stood alongside a life-sized wax rendering of Larry. The wax figure held Larry's favorite teddy bear, and onlookers showered it with pachysandra. "Larry would have loved that," said Mrs. Klew. "His favorite flower was the pachysandra. It's such a shame that his life was so tragically ended-- but if only we can get this law passed..." she trailed off into weeping.
"Larry's Law" provides a ten-year mandatory prison term for anyone found in violation, plus a fine of anywhere from $10,000 to $500,000 which may be imposed at the discretion of the judge. The fines and prison term may be doubled for repeat offenders. A companion bill provides $10,000,000 for the construction of an additional state prison dedicated to housing offenders of the new law. During debate, State Corrections Commissioner John LaRue explained to lawmakers, "We simply do not have the prison space to hold all of the people who would have to be jailed under this proposal." At that point, Senator Floyd Robertson (D-Fleming) introduced an amendment to raise the maximum fine to $500,000 from the originally proposed $100,000, asserting that the cost of new prison construction could be financed through the fines paid by offenders. Robertson's amendment passed by voice vote; he later introduced the prison spending bill, which also sailed through the Senate.
Miniskirt manufacturers lobbied strenously against the bill, but were vexed as Mrs. Klew and her supporters raised pictures of Larry at every opportunity, and lawmakers' eyes began to moisten. "We spent enormous amounts of money on this one," said one miniskirt lobbyist on condition that he not be named, "but that Klew woman just played to everyone's sympathies. We didn't have a chance. Even our usual friends wouldn't stay bought."
Also disappointed was Senator Moe Green (AG-Southville), who introduced an amendment to expand the bill to cover all types of grunge. The amendment failed, prompting Senator Green to exclaim, "Do we have to wait for more of our valued citizens to die before we get wise and see the dangers inherent in all grunge?"
The sponsor of the bill, Senator Robert MacKenzie (R-Cuthbert), stood with Mrs. Klew and her family at the news conference. "I am proud to have played a key role in shepherding this important piece of legislation through the State Senate," said MacKenzie. "Never again will innocent six-year-olds be slaughtered by women wearing miniskirts!" he cried, to loud cheers and thunderous applause from the crowd.
Meanwhile, outside the legislative building, passersby seemed resigned to a future without miniskirts. Margaret Meehan, 26, whose skirt stopped halfway up her thigh, said, "It's kind of sad, but who can fight City Hall? I guess I'll just have to burn all my miniskirts or give them to out-of-state residents." Catherine Martin, 38, whose dress barely reached one-third of the way from her waist to her knees, said, "The tide seems to be turning in favor of the anti-grunge crowd. It'll give me an excuse to buy some new clothes, though." Brian Johns, 54, lamented, "Right now, I love hot, windy days like today, but life sure will be drudgery if that bill becomes law."
The bill now goes to the State Assembly, where it is expected to meet little resistance, although Mrs. Klew promises not to take anything for granted. "I could do no less for little Larry," she said. Also, Governor Henrietta Falbo has promised to sign the bill if submitted to her. "I couldn't let poor Mrs. Klew and Larry down," she said through her press office, adding, "Besides, we all know that miniskirts are grunge, and therefore, highly undesirable to say the least."