This week's Bill Blotter covers different bases: Regulating bathing suits in New Jersey, cloned animal selling in California and hair braiding across the map.
Speedo-sporting gents are now free to roam the beaches of the old-school, Victorian-themed beach town of Cape May, N.J.
"Skintight or bikini type" bathing suits for males older than the age of 12 had been banned from the Cape May waterfront for more than 30 years.
The skimpy suits were banned originally in response to complaints about gay men donning them. This is the same beach town that once forced men and women to swim at different times of day.
When city officials voted last week to strike the ban -- acknowledging it was time to modernize the rules -- they also lifted a requirement that men taking a stroll down the promenade must cover their chests.
City Administrator Luciano Corea Jr. told The Associated Press that to his knowledge the town had never issued a summons to a man in a bikini bathing suit and that there had been no real push to end the ban because it was relatively unknown.
Commercial pet cloners in the Golden State should beware. California Assemblyman Lloyd Devine has proposed a bill that would make it illegal for state residents to buy cloned or genetically modified dogs and cats.
Genetic Savings & Clone, based in Sausalito, has sold two cloned kittens and has more in the works, but Devine is looking to put a stop to it. He argues that cloning hurts the animals and that people are not thinking about the long-term implications of cloning.
While Genetic Savings & Clone is the only reported commercial pet cloning company, this bill would also affect the San Diego-based Allerca. The competitor is planning to make and sell genetically altered cats designed to avoid allergic reactions in humans.
There has been no voting on the bill yet, but it is expected to be heard by the Assembly Business and Professions Committee this week.
Lawmakers in Tennessee, Mississippi, South Carolina and other states have all addressed laws regulating hair braiding in recent months.
A bill easing requirements for those who braid, twist or add extensions to hair without chemicals has passed the Tennessee Senate and awaits action in the state House.
In Mississippi, the Legislature in March passed a similar measure making the requirements for braiders less stringent. Formerly, braiders had to hold either a cosmetology license -- requiring 1,500 hours of education -- or a wig-specialist license, which required 300 hours of fitting, styling and caring for wigs. Beginning July 1, these requirements will be dropped. Instead, each professional braider will have to take a self-guided test and pay the state an annual $25 registration fee.
In December, South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford vetoed a bill that would have required hair braiders to add 60 hours of training onto the 1,500 hours of cosmetology education currently required.
The hair-braiding measure had been included in a bill dealing with pharmacy regulations. "I'd ask the General Assembly to send me a clean version of that pharmacy bill as soon as possible, as well as a bill that completely eliminates these absurd hair braiding requirements," Sanford said.