NAC Action Alert
OHIO House Bill 469

April 19, 2002

Click here to view the text of House Bill 469.

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                     NATURIST ACTION COMMITTEE
                           ACTION ALERT
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                 http://www.naturistsociety.com/NAC/
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DATE   : April 19, 2002
SUBJECT: OHIO HOUSE BILL 469
TO     : All Ohio Naturists

Dear Ohio Naturist:

The Naturist Action Committee is asking for your help with an important situation in Ohio. Lawmakers in Ohio have been asked to pass a legislative bill that severely threatens your rights and activities as a naturist. House Bill 469 proposes sweeping changes to the state's laws concerning "public indecency." It rewrites the definition of "public place," criminalizes an expanded new list of body parts and changes the rules for the prosecution of skinny-dippers so that naturists can be more easily convicted, even if they're in remote and isolated places and no one is around to be offended.

Further, HB 469, if allowed to pass into law, would outlaw nudist resorts, camps and parks throughout the state.

The Naturist Action Committee (NAC) is committed to killing this legislation outright or seeing that it is modified so that it no longer threatens the legitimate interests of naturists. NAC has hired a legislative lobbyist to assist us in our urgent fight against this dangerous proposed law. The American Association for Nude Recreation and the Midwest Sunbathing Association have also agreed to help pay for the lobbyist.

However, unlike those organizations, NAC has no membership roster on which it can assess dues to underwrite such an essential effort. NAC relies entirely on volunteer donations from naturists like you. At the conclusion of this Action Alert, you'll be asked to help NAC in its effort to fight for the rights of Ohio naturists. Please consider making your contribution a generous one.

**** WHAT NATURISTS SHOULD KNOW ABOUT HOUSE BILL 469

This legislation was introduced by Rep. Twyla Roman (R-Akron), but its text was written at the behest of the Ohio chapter of the American Family Association (AFA), using harsh boilerplate language from the Alliance Defense Fund, an extreme anti-nudity organization located in Scottsdale, Arizona. The original intent of the bill was to aim a broad blast at the adult entertainment industry, but backers of the measure have said bluntly that they'd be quite pleased to take down naturists and nudists at the same time.

Naturist efforts to negotiate a revision to the language have been rebuffed by those pushing the bill. The legislative aide to Rep. Roman is the executive director of the Ohio AFA chapter.

The complete text of HB 469 is available online on the web site of the Naturist Action Committee:

   www.naturistsociety.com/NAC

Click on "Legislative Bill Texts" and then select Ohio HB 469 from the list of 2002 bills.


**** WHAT CAN I DO TO HELP DEFEAT HOUSE BILL 469?

NAC asks you to take one or both of the following two actions:

1) IMMEDIATELY write, call or fax the members of the legislative subcommittee who have been assigned to consider this bill.

2) Attend the hearing for HB 469, scheduled for 3:00 p.m. Wednesday, April 24, 2002, in room 115 of the Statehouse at the corner of Broad and High in Columbus.

**** 1.  CONTACT THESE LAWMAKERS NOW!

[Please note: Contacts from Ohio residents are extremely valuable. Contacts from those who live outside Ohio are not likely to help in this instance, and they may do some harm. NAC appreciates the interest of all naturists in this matter but asks naturists living outside of Ohio NOT to write or call this time.]

Time is extremely short. The following members of the Subcommittee on Civil and Commercial Law must hear from Ohio residents before they meet at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, April 24, 2002.


Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati), Subcommittee Chair
Tel:(614) 466-8258
Fax:(614) 644-9494
Email:rep34@ohr.state.oh.us

Joseph P. Sulzer (D-Chillicothe)
Tel:(614) 644-7928
Fax:(614) 644-9494
Email:rep91@ohr.state.oh.us

Bob Latta (R-Bowling Green)
Tel:(614) 466-8104
Fax:(614) 644-9494
Email:rep04@ohr.state.oh.us

Timothy J. Grendell (R-Chesterland)
Tel:(614) 644-5088
Fax:(614) 644-9494
Email:rep68@ohr.state.oh.us

Edward S. Jerse (D-Euclid)
Tel:(614) 466-8012
Fax:(614) 644-9494
Email:rep14@ohr.state.oh.us

     MAILING ADDRESS FORMAT FOR ALL REPRESENTATIVES:

     The Honorable _____________
     Ohio House of Representatives
     77 South High Street
     Columbus, Ohio 43266


**** WHAT TO SAY WHEN YOU WRITE OR CALL
     (it's certainly okay to do both!)

WRITE: The hearing was scheduled with very little advance notice. If you send letters to lawmakers in Columbus IMMEDIATELY, it will get there before Wednesday. However, since time is short, you may wish to consider faxing or e-mailing your comments. Keep your remarks brief and polite. Say very clearly that you oppose House Bill 469 and wish the representative to vote against it. If you are a constituent of the lawmaker to whom you are writing, please say so. Sign your letter, fax or e-mail. Unsigned correspondence is often simply discarded.

CALL: Keep your remarks brief and polite. When you are communicating by phone, always give your name. Anonymous calls are discounted. You may find that the Representative is out. Politely ask to speak to an aide. Give your information to the aide, who is trained to report it to the lawmaker. Do not expect return calls from lawmakers. If you are a constituent of the lawmaker you are calling, please say so. Be sure to say clearly and specifically that you oppose House Bill 469 and wish the representative to vote against it.

SOME POINTS YOU MAY WISH TO MENTION: Remember to use you own words to explain how you feel. "Cookie cutter" letters, faxes and e-mails and scripted phone calls are much less effective than heartfelt contacts. Even though you may feel passionately about this issue (and NAC hopes you do!), please be polite.

HB 469 drastically and unnecessarily rewrites the definition of "public place."

HB 469 attacks skinny-dipping, a traditional Ohio recreation. Present Ohio law says that a conviction for public indecency requires that a person was nude "under circumstances in which his or her conduct is likely to be viewed by and affront others." HB 469 eliminates that requirement altogether and would make criminals of naturists who go skinny-dipping in remote and isolated places where no one is around.

HB 469 criminalizes female breasts (but not male breasts). This raises important questions of equal protection.

HB 469 would outlaw nudity in locker rooms at gyms!

HB 469 goes beyond addressing nudity. It would make illegal most commercially available women's swimsuits.

HB 469 offers "solutions" for things that aren't problems. Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources says that where topfree women use beaches at state parks, there is simply not a problem. Significantly, ODNR has declined to testify in favor of the bill.

HB 469 is a poorly written bill that has unintended consequences. Although its sponsor says it's aimed at adult businesses, it would make family-oriented nudist parks illegal in the state.

HB 469 has recently had several pages added to it, listing a number of studies that attempt to link adult businesses to "negative secondary effects," a catch-phrase in recent court rulings. However, it's a safe bet that none of the lawmakers (not even the sponsor) has read those studies. (a) Some of the studies are almost thirty years old! (b) Many are circular in their references. One study depends on the results of another, which depends on a third study, and so on. (c) Most importantly, NONE of those studies pertains to nudist resorts or skinny-dipping!

HB 469 is constitutionally overbroad in its language. It would make bad law. If passed into law, it will be challenged at significant expense to the state and its taxpayers, and it will ultimately be struck down.

**** 2.  COME TO THE HEARING WEDNESDAY, APRIL 24!

The House Subcommittee on Civil and Commercial Law has scheduled a hearing for HB 469 for 3:00 p.m. Wednesday, April 24, 2002, in room 115 of the Statehouse at the corner of Broad and High in Columbus. Basically, NAC is looking for two groups of naturists at the subcommittee hearing. Both groups will be extremely important. Group A consists of the speakers. Group B are the supporters.

GROUP A: If can attend the hearing and you'd like to speak, we want to hear from you now. By prearrangement, NAC Area Representative Bob Neinast will be coordinating the speakers from our side, including speakers affiliated with NAC, TNS, AANR and MSA, as well as those who are unaffiliated but who share naturist and nudist concerns over HB 469. Showing strong opposition to HB 469 during your testimony is a good thing, but is important to remain polite while making your remarks. Consider topics from the previous page or address your own concerns. Advance coordination of speakers is important. Contact Bob Neinast by telephone at (614) 759-1601 or by e-mail at neinast@worldnet.att.net.

Subcommittee members strongly prefer that you make a written copy of your testimony available for distribution to the subcommittee. Be sure to make enough copies for all five subcommittee members and one for the NAC coordinator. Speakers must show up early for the hearing. Before the hearing, you must fill out a witness slip indicating your desire to testify. Bob Neinast is a veteran of this process and will help guide you through it.

GROUP B: Supporters are essential in assuring the proper reception of those who speak. Supporters attending the hearing should show up no later that 2:30 p.m. to assure a choice of seating. Do not sit all in a single cluster. Instead, it's important that supporters be distributed throughout the entire area designated for spectators.

Supporters must show polite respect for all speakers. Since this is a hearing for opponents to HB 469, it's not likely you will hear speakers praising the bill. However, naturists are not the only ones opposing HB 469. Other groups and individuals expected to speak against the measure include: the licensed beverage industry, retail merchants, gays and lesbians and the adult entertainment industry. Some of the witnesses may not reflect your personal point of view, but you should extend to them the same courtesy you expect to be shown to speakers representing naturists.

**** PLEASE CONTRIBUTE TO NAC

The Naturist Action Committee is the nonprofit volunteer political adjunct to The Naturist Society. NAC's mission is to advance and protect the rights of naturists throughout North America. The organization relies entirely on voluntary donations from concerned naturists to allow it to continue its important operations.

NAC has committed a great deal of its resources to fighting House Bill 469 in Ohio. We're absolutely counting on concerned Ohio naturists to help us with the expense of this important defense of the rights of naturists. Quite frankly, we're up against dedicated and well funded opponents of nudity who have already boasted of spending tens of thousands of dollars in Ohio on this issue. Your financial support could be what makes the difference between success and failure in defeating HB 469!

Won't you please help NAC in this crucial fight? Your contribution of any size is greatly appreciated. You may mail your donation to:

  NAC
  P.O. Box 132
  Oshkosh, WI 54903

Call (920) 426-5009 to donate by phone using your MasterCard or Visa.

Thank you for making a difference!

Naturally,

Bob Morton
Chairman & Executive Director
Naturist Action Committee

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Naturist Action Committee (NAC) - PO Box 132, Oshkosh, WI 54903
Executive Dir. Bob Morton      - <ctnudists@aol.com>
Regional Dir. Joanne Sampey    - <jsxt@juno.com>
Online Rep. Dennis Kirkpatrick - <naturist@sunclad.com>
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