NAC Advisory
Texas Legislative Success!
July 9, 2009

Resources

TEXT OF LEGISLATION
HOUSE BILL 123

HOUSE BILL 124


EXISTING STATE LAW

HOUSE BILL 736

SENATE BILL 1307

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                       NATURIST ACTION COMMITTEE
                             ADVISORY
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http://www.naturistaction.org
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Copyright 2009 by the Naturist Action Committee, which is responsible for its content. Permission is granted for the posting, forwarding or redistribution of this message, provided that it is reproduced in its entirety and without alteration.

DATE:    July 9, 2009
SUBJECT: Success in Texas! Dangerous legislation modified, derailed
TO:      All naturists

Dear Naturist:

The Naturist Action Committee (NAC) announces significant successes in the Texas legislature.

Working behind the scenes with a professional legislative lobbyist, NAC has been instrumental in derailing four Texas legislative measures that threatened the interests of naturists. NAC quietly offered substitute language for two of the bills and then worked to see that the bills were not adopted.

None of the four bills was passed into law.

SUMMARIES OF THE LEGISLATIVE BILLS

House Bill 123 - Sponsor: Rep. Jim Jackson (R-Carrollton). This legislation would have added "employment harmful to children" to the state's list of "common nuisances." Although the proposed new law was touted as "an additional tool to prevent children from being employed in sexually oriented businesses," it would have applied more generally to "the employment, authorization, or inducement of a child to work in a place of business permitting, requesting, or requiring a child to work nude or topless." Certain restrictions already apply in such instances. However, a naturist or nudist resort that might consider providing part time work (like sweeping the clubhouse or mowing the grass) for the nude sons and daughters of members, could additionally find itself at risk of being declared a nuisance.

Senate Bill 1307 - Sponsor: Sen. John Carona (R-Dallas). Senate companion to HB 123. Essentially identical in language and intent, this measure would also have added "employment harmful to children" to the state's list of "common nuisances."

House Bill 124 - Sponsor: Rep. Jim Jackson (R-Carrollton). This bill sought to escalate to felony status the penalty for second or subsequent convictions for "employment harmful to children." Regardless of the intent, the proposed law would have increased the threat to naturist or nudist resorts.

House Bill 736 - Sponsor: Rep. Chente Quintanilla (D-El Paso). Texas counties do not have general ordinance-making power, and the ability of counties to make regulations is limited. As introduced, HB 736 proposed to grant counties the authorization to adopt and enforce regulations having to do with nuisances and disorderly conduct. Each of the 254 counties in the state would have been allowed to create its own regulations.

BRIEF DISCUSSION

Nuisance: Notwithstanding the existing state law addressing "employment harmful to children," naturist and nudist resorts do not wish to be characterized additionally as nuisances. From New York and Tennessee to Colorado and Oregon, laws dealing with the issue of "nuisance" have been at the center of various attempts to shut down naturist venues and activities. The Naturist Action Committee has consistently and successfully opposed the creation of laws that sought to declare nudity to be a nuisance (e.g., Tennessee 1998 HB 3203, Kansas 2000 HB 2726, Michigan 2000 SB 1293 et al.).

Disorderly Conduct: The state's existing disorderly conduct law includes the section that's most frequently used to charge individuals for simple public nudity. The state law requires "recklessness" as an element for conviction, but county regulations, if allowed, would not necessarily follow identically.

WHAT HAS NAC BEEN DOING ABOUT THIS LEGISLATION?

It was clear that this potentially damaging legislation had a chance of passage this session. The Naturist Action Committee took action quickly, hiring a professional legislative lobbyist and offering alternate language for HB 123 and SB 1307, which were companion bills.

Substitute language for HB 123 was endorsed by the legislative committee to which it had been assigned, but it was not language that was acceptable to NAC. Consequently, NAC turned its effort to seeing that none of the bills would pass into law.

OUTCOME

None of the four bills passed into law.

HB 123 was reported favorably from the Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence Committee after having been substituted, but the bill did not receive a floor vote in the House.

SB 1307 never made it out of committee.

HB 124 was passed by the House and was assigned to a Senate committee, but was not considered in the Senate.

HB 736 was reported favorably from the House County Affairs Committee. A committee substitute changed the bill so that it would apply only to counties that have a population of 650,000 or more and are located within 100 miles of an international border. In Texas, that description fits only El Paso County, home of the bill's original sponsor. Regardless, the legislation did not make it to a vote on the floor of the House.

These are favorable and important outcomes for naturists, and especially for naturist and nudist resorts, camps and parks in the state of Texas.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT AND THANKS

Throughout this entire effort, NAC has had the cooperation of AANR-Southwest, a regional division of the American Association for Nude Recreation. NAC thanks AANR-SW!
 
WHAT IS NAC ASKING YOU TO DO?

This is an Advisory and an announcement of a specific success. The Naturist Action Committee is NOT asking you to take action at this time. The threats from HB 123, HB 124, HB 736 and SB 1307 have been disarmed. Please watch for NAC Action Alerts, Advisories and Updates on other topics of vital interest to naturists.

MORE INFORMATION

You can access additional information on the Web site of the Naturist Action Committee.

  
www.naturistaction.org

Select "Alerts, Advisories and Updates." Under Current Advisories, you'll find the text of this NAC Advisory. The web version includes links to the texts of the various bills

PLEASE HELP NAC HELP NATURISTS

As the nonprofit volunteer political adjunct to The Naturist Society, the Naturist Action Committee is an important first line of defense against threats to naturists and their interests. Many times, NAC identifies and deals with frightening legislation that others simply miss.

NAC stands up for private naturist and nudist resorts, parks and camps, just as it champions the clothing-optional use of public lands. Both are important, and for both responsibilities, NAC relies entirely on your voluntary support. Hiring lobbyists to defend the rights and interests of naturists is expensive. Please donate generously with a check to:

    NAC
    PO Box 132
    Oshkosh, WI 54903

Or use your credit card to make a direct donation online through NAC's Web site:
   
www.naturistaction.org/donate/

Thank you once again for choosing to make a difference!

Naturally,

Bob Morton
Executive Director
Naturist Action Committee

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Naturist Action Committee (NAC) - PO Box 132, Oshkosh, WI 54903
Executive Dir. Bob Morton       -
execdir@naturistaction.org
Online Rep. Dennis Kirkpatrick  -
naturist@sunclad.com
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