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Missouri House adopts dress code requiring women to cover arms

The dress code was part of the new rules package in the Republican-led House.
Credit: Missouri House of Representatives

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — A new set of rules adopted by the Missouri House of Representatives includes a dress code that increased the requirements for women: they must now cover their arms with a jacket, blazer, cardigan or knit blazer. The men's dress code remained unchanged.

The dress code and rules for the House were adopted Wednesday, by a 105-51 vote in the Republican-led chamber.

State Rep. Ann Kelley (R) proposed the changes to the dress code.

"It is essential to always maintain a formal and professional atmosphere," Kelley said on the House floor.

State Rep. Raychel Proudie was one of the Democrats who spoke on the House floor against the rule. Proudie referenced other important debates in the rules package.

Proudie voted against the rules package.

The dress code now reads:

At all times when the House is seated, proper attire for gentlemen shall be business attire, including coat, tie, dress trousers, and dress shoes or boots. Proper attire for women shall be business attire, including jackets worn with dresses, skirts, or slacks, and dress shoes or boots. For the purposes of this rule, "jacket" shall include blazers, cardigans, and knit blazers. This rule shall apply to all members and staff on the floor of the House and lower gallery.

The old dress code only required "dresses or skirts or slacks worn with a blazer or sweater and appropriate dress shoes or boots."

There are 43 women and 116 men in the Missouri House.

Proudie joked on Twitter that "The #MOHouse Cardigan Caucus will convene on Tuesday where we will elect a chair."

See the breakdown of the vote on the rules package that included the dress code here.

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