Missouri will require women in legislature to cover arms, shoulders as part of stricter dress code

State Democrats unhappy with new changes.

Updated: January 14, 2023 - 11:15am

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A new rule in the Missouri State House will require women there to cover their shoulders and arms while working as part of a stepped-up dress code that has generated backlash from Democrats.

The new proposal, submitted by state Rep. Ann Kelley, directs that “proper attire” for women in the state House will include “jackets” along with skirts or slacks. 

The dress code for men stipulates a jacket, shirt and tie; Kelley said this week the new rule for women was meant as a measure of equality. 

Ahead of the measure’s successful package, Democrats sharply criticized the new rules. 

“Do you know what it feels like to have a bunch of men in this room looking at your top trying to determine if it’s appropriate or not?” Democratic Rep. Ashley Aune said. 

Rep. Peter Merideth, meanwhile, refused to vote on the new rule, calling it “a really dangerous road for us all to go down.”

The measure, part of a larger rules package, passed 105-51.