IF MAYOR Nutter represented Middleborough, Mass., he'd curb his occasional use of profane language or risk paying for it.

Over the summer, the small town approved a ban on swearing in public and instituted a fine that could cost potty mouths $20.

The measure was intended to address boisterous, foul-mouth teenagers, not private conversations. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that, in most cases, profanity is protected by the 1st Amendment, but no one has yet filed a legal challenge to the law.

In California, the state Assembly approved a resolution in 2010 making the first week of March a "Cuss-free week," after they were inspired by McKay Hatch, a teenager in South Pasadena who launched a No Cussing Club at his junior high school.

Meanwhile, in North Carolina, Superior Court Judge Allen Baddour last year dismissed charges against a woman who said, "damn" in the midst of a confrontation with police. The judge said the state's 98-year-old ban on swearing in public within earshot of at least two people was too broad.