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NAC Action Alert
OHIO SENATE BILL 245
December 7, 2006

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                     NATURIST ACTION COMMITTEE
                           ACTION ALERT
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http://www.naturistaction.org
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 Copyright 2006 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: December 7, 2006
SUBJECT: Ohio: Senate Bill 245
TO: Ohio Naturists and other concerned citizens

Dear Ohio Naturist,

This is an Action Alert from the Naturist Action Committee concerning an important legislative situation in the state of Ohio.

NAC has been working with Ohio lawmakers in an attempt to monitor and derail a dangerous legislative bill. Until very recently, it appeared Senate Bill 245 would die at the end of this month. However, it was selected just this week for acceleration toward passage. If you are a resident of Ohio, NAC is asking for your immediate action in the form of:

  1) your e-mails, faxes and telephone calls to key Ohio legislators, and
  2) your attendance at an important public hearing on December 12.

At the present time, NAC is NOT calling for action from those who live outside the state of Ohio.

WHAT'S THE SPECIFIC THREAT?

Senate Bill 245 proposes a significant increase to the level of punishment for mere nudity in the presence of a minor. No attempt is made to distinguish between lewd conduct and benign nudity. No differentiation is made between predatory exposure and any other sort, whether incidental, accidental, non-lewd or otherwise.

Under the proposed new law, certain convictions could carry Fifth Degree Felony status. All who have had a previous conviction for public indecency would be required to make a bail appearance before a judge before being released. That's something that frequently requires an overnight stay in jail. The "previous conviction" under the proposed law could even be one that resulted from a municipal citation for skinny-dipping or nude sunbathing.
 
BACKGROUND AND DISCUSSION

A year ago, a mother and her 9-year old daughter were shopping at a retail store in West Chester Township, in southeastern Ohio, when a man reportedly flashed his penis to the girl. The man, who had previously been designated by a court as a sexual predator, had been paroled from prison less than a week earlier. Following the West Chester incident, the man was apprehended. He posted a $500 bond and was released within hours, without appearing before a judge, who might have assessed his prior record.

As unfortunate as this incident was, the response of State Sen. Gary Cates (R-West Chester) was more unfortunate. Sen. Cates proposed a revision to Ohio's public indecency law that would ratchet up the penalty for public indecency and broaden prior offenses to include municipal convictions.

The bill, as written, does not even require that the municipal convictions take place in the state of Ohio. The law proposed by SB 245 would hold individuals hostage to the lowest common denominator of municipal ordinance-making anywhere.

Sen. Cates named his proposed law after the little girl in the store. And so, Nicole's Law, with its unfocused harshness on predators and naturists alike, was passed by a pre-election vote of the State Senate, without much concern for its excesses.

As recently as three days ago, lawmakers in control of the wording and progress of SB 245 were assuring the Naturist Action Committee that the bill would be heard in a House committee as a "courtesy" to its sponsor, but that it was not on a track for passage in this session.

WHAT IS NAC DOING?

The Naturist Action Committee has two valuable partners in the Ohio political arena: the American Association for Nude Recreation and its regional affiliate, AANR-Midwest. Each is sharing the expense with NAC of a professional legislative lobbyist. NAC expresses its gratitude to these two organizations, to their leadership and to their members.

The Naturist Action Committee has opposed SB 245 since its introduction. On January 26, 2006, NAC issued its first NAC Advisory on SB 245. NAC Area Representative Bob Neinast testified against the bill during a Senate committee hearing in March. With the close involvement of its lobbyist, NAC has continued working with lawmakers on this bill behind the scenes.

NAC has offered carefully crafted alternative language that preserves the bill's harsh penalties for sexual predators, while making a distinction between predatory crime and benign, incidental, or accidental nudity. Sen. Cates, the bill's sponsor, has shown a consistent unwillingness to consider such changes, despite their reasonableness.

Other lawmakers in key positions have given multiple assurances that the bill would not ultimately pass. Until this week, waiting for the measure to expire at the end of the legislative session later this month has appeared far more politically wise than insisting on a confrontation to install the alternate language.

However, developments just this week concerning SB 245 have changed things dramatically. Despite previous assurances, the bill has been chosen for advancement toward last-minute passage. NAC is making a call for a grass roots response, as detailed in this NAC Action Alert.

WHAT IS NAC ASKING YOU TO DO?

The Naturist Action Committee is NOT requesting action from those who live outside Ohio. If you are an Ohio resident, NAC is asking you to do THREE things:

   1) Make a telephone call, send a fax or send an e-mail immediately to the Ohio lawmakers who are members of the House Criminal Justice Committee.

   2) Make a telephone call or send an e-mail immediately to YOUR Ohio Representative, AND to the Speaker of the House.

   3) Attend an important public hearing on December 12 at the Ohio State Capitol in Columbus to oppose Senate Bill 245.

IMPORTANT: The hearing is scheduled for December 12, so it's necessary for you to take action quickly.

WHO SHOULD WRITE AND CALL

NAC is asking residents of Ohio to write and call. If you live outside the state of Ohio, NAC is NOT requesting you to take action at this time.

WHOM TO CONTACT

In this instance, phone calls, faxes and e-mails are likely to be the only effective means of voicing your concern. There's not enough time for surface mail to reach lawmakers.

Please contact:
  1) As many members of the House Criminal Justice Committee as you can.
  2) Your own Ohio State representative.
  3) The Speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives.

Details follow.

House Criminal Justice Committee

Republicans       
-----------      
Rep. Bob Latta         TEL 614-466-8104  FAX 614-719-0006 
district06@ohr.state.oh.us

Rep. David Evans       TEL 614-466-1482  FAX 614-719-3971 
district71@ohr.state.oh.us

Rep. Danny Bubp        TEL 614-644-6034  FAX 614-719-6988 
district88@ohr.state.oh.us

Rep. Stephen Buehrer   TEL 614-644-5091  FAX 614-719-3974 
district74@ohr.state.oh.us

Rep. Mike Gilb         TEL 614-466-3819  FAX 614-719-3976 
district76@ohr.state.oh.us

Rep. Ron Hood          TEL 614-466-2500  FAX 614-719-6991 
district91@ohr.state.oh.us

Rep. Jim Hughes        TEL 614-466-2473  FAX 614-719-6961 
district22@ohr.state.oh.us

Rep. Sally Kilbane     TEL 614-466-0961  FAX 614-719-3998 
district16@ohr.state.oh.us

Rep. Bill Seitz        TEL 614-466-8258  FAX 614-719-3584 
district30@ohr.state.oh.us

Rep. Joseph Uecker     TEL 614-466-8134  FAX 614-719-3966 
district66@ohr.state.oh.us

Rep. John Willamowski  TEL 614-466-9624  FAX 614-719-0004 
district04@ohr.state.oh.us

Democrats
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Rep. Timothy DeGeeter  TEL 614-466-3485  FAX 614-719-3911 
district15@ohr.state.oh.us

Rep. William Healy     TEL 614-466-8030  FAX 614-719-6952 
district52@ohr.state.oh.us

Rep. Annie Key         TEL 614-466-1414  FAX 614-719-0011 
district11@ohr.state.oh.us

Rep. Lance Mason       TEL 614-466-5441  FAX 614-719-0008 
district08@ohr.state.oh.us

Rep. Jeanine Perry     TEL 614-466-1418  FAX 614-719-6949 
district49@ohr.state.oh.us

Rep. Tyrone Yates      TEL 614-466-1308  FAX 614-719-3587 
district33@ohr.state.oh.us

Rep. Kenny Yuko        TEL 614-466-8012  FAX 614-719-0007 
district07@ohr.state.oh.us

Speaker
------
Rep. Jon Husted        TEL 614-644-6008  FAX 614-719-3591 
district37@ohr.state.oh.us


Here is the online resource for finding one's own Representative, using the ZIP code of your residence.

http://www.house.state.oh.us/jsps/Representatives.jsp

If more than one Representive's name appears in response to your ZIP code, please e-mail / fax / phone each one.

Key points to remember when writing or calling:
(You CAN do both, and NAC recommends it!)

   1. Identify yourself. Anonymous phone calls and correspondence are generally disregarded. If you live in the district represented by the Representative, please say so prominently.

   2. Be brief and polite.

   3. Say clearly and specifically that you OPPOSE Senate Bill 245.

   4. Include your specific concerns. For suggestions, see NAC's talking and writing points, below.

WHAT ELSE TO SAY?

Here are some additional talking/writing points to consider:

   1. The bill, as written, makes bad law for Ohio. Why wouldn't state lawmakers make a simple change to the wording, so that the law could punish true sexual predators, without imposing huge penalties on benign, incidental or accidental nudity?

   2. An example of incidental nudity? Perhaps discreet urination at remote golf course, unintentionally witnessed. Under SB 245, the golfer with a prior conviction for skinny-dipping would be treated exactly the same as a sexual predator.

   3. Should a citation for misdemeanor skinny-dipping really require a possible night in jail while you wait for a judge to consider bail?

   4. The stricter penalties and procedures would apply to the casual nudity of the Ohio boating community.

   5. Silly incidents like "mooning" would be subject to the stricter penalties and procedures of the proposed new law. There simply is no differentiation in SB 245 between such things and dangerous sexually predatory acts.

   6. Bail hearings would be mandatory for those with a prior conviction for nude sunbathing, even if that conviction resulted from a municipal conviction in another state, and it carried a fine no more severe than that of a parking ticket. There would be no prosecutorial discretion on the matter of such bail hearings.

   7. For purposes of the proposed new law, nude sunbathing in your own backyard is considered to be no different from the actions of the presumed sex predator who flashed the little girl in the store. It's this sort of unfocused and undifferentiated punishment that would make bad law for the State of Ohio.

VERY IMPORTANT: ATTEND THE PUBLIC LEGISLATIVE HEARING

Date: December 12, 2006
Time: 2:30 PM
Location: Room 121
          Ohio Statehouse
          77 South High Street
          Columbus, Ohio 43266    

NAC suggests parking at City Center, off Rich Street. ($1 for 3 hours)

Even if you do not intend to speak at the legislative hearing, your presence is important as support for those who will be speaking on behalf of naturists.

NAC Area Representative Bob Neinast will be marshaling the speakers and coordinating other naturists/nudists who attend the hearing. If you intend to be at the hearing on December 12, or if you're thinking about it, or if you just want more information about the hearing, please contact Bob Neinast as soon as possible by e-mail: 
neinast@worldnet.att.net    

IF YOU SPEAK AT THE HEARING If you speak at the hearing, you must avoid making personal attacks, even though it's hard not take this matter personally. If you like, you may make use of the points offered above for those who will be writing and/or calling.

MORE INFORMATION AND RESOURCES

Additional information and links, including the complete text of Ohio Senate Bill 245 and NAC's proposed alternative language, are available on the Web site of the Naturist Action Committee.

  
www.naturistaction.org

Select "Alerts" and find this NAC Action Alert under Current Alerts.

PLEASE HELP NAC TO CONTINUE HELPING NATURISTS!

The Naturist Action Committee is a volunteer nonprofit organization that exists to advance and protect the rights of naturists throughout North America. Fighting bad legislation on behalf of naturists is expensive. To do its job, NAC relies entirely on the voluntary generosity of supporters like you. Please donate to NAC.

   NAC
   PO Box 132
   Oshkosh, WI 54903

Or call toll free (800) 886-7230 to donate by phone using your MasterCard, Visa or Discover Card. Or use your credit card to make a convenient online donation:
www.naturistaction.org/donate/

Thank you 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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Penalties for Various Levels of Convictions
OHIO 2006

    Misdemeanor of the fourth degree:
    Up to 30 days in jail; fine of up to $250  and court costs

    Misdemeanor of the third degree:
    Up to 60 days in jail; fine of up to $500 and court costs

    Misdemeanor of the second  degree:
    Up to 90 days in jail; fine of up to $750 and court  costs

    Misdemeanor of the first degree:
    Up to 180 days in jail; fine of up to $1000 and court costs

    Felony of the fifth degree:
    Up to 1  year (but not less than 6 months) in prison;
    fine of up to $2500 and court  costs

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