NAC Update
Florida Legislation
April 23, 2007

Resources

TEXT OF LEGISLATION

EXISTING STATE LAW

From the Toni Egbert Naturist Law Library of the Naturist Education Foundation ...
RELEVANT COURT CASES

PREVIOUS NAC COMMUNIQUES ON THIS TOPIC

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                     NATURIST ACTION COMMITTEE
                              UPDATE
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http://www.naturistaction.org
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 Copyright 2007 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:    April 23, 2007
SUBJECT: Victory in Florida!
TO:      All naturists

Dear Naturist,

The Naturist Action Committee (NAC) is pleased to update you with news of an important victory in Florida.

On March 29, NAC issued a NAC Action Alert, calling for you to take action by contacting key Florida lawmakers concerning four threatening legislative bills.

As a direct result of your aggressive response, each of those four bills has been derailed. Three bills were simply allowed to die in committee. The fourth was given a committee hearing today, but only after the threatening language had been removed from it.

Simply put, we won them all!

BRIEF DISCUSSION

The threats to naturists came from legislative bills that sought to modify Section 800.03 of the Florida Statutes and to increase the penalties that are attached to that law. Section 800.03 addresses the exposure or exhibition of sexual organs in a public place.

For more detailed discussions, please refer to the NAC Advisory of March 11, 2007, and to the NAC Action Alert of March 29, 2007. Both are archived on the Web site of the Naturist Action Committee:
  
  
www.naturistaction.org

THE SPECIFIC FLORIDA LEGISLATION

The NAC Action Alert of March 29 focused on four Senate bills that had been assigned to the Senate Criminal Justice Committee. Here's a brief description of those four bills and what happened to them today.

SENATE BILL 2058 Sponsor: Sen. Victor Crist (R-Tampa). Proposed escalated penalties for violation of 800.03, and other language that many naturists find threatening. This bill omitted some specific venues at which enhanced penalties would apply, but the slightly modified language was never enough to turn it into a good bill.

SB 2058 was referred to the Senate Criminal Justice Committee, where it was allowed to die.

SENATE BILL 1842 Sponsor: Sen. Dave Aronberg (D-Greenacres). A Senate companion bill for HB 269. It included enhanced penalties for Section 800.03 of the Florida Statutes.

SB 1842 was referred to the Senate Criminal Justice Committee, where it was allowed to die.

SENATE BILL 1800 Sponsor: Sen. Bill Posey (R-Rockledge). This bill authorized warrantless arrest, specifically where "[t]here is probable cause to believe that the person has unlawfully exhibited his or her sexual organs in public in violation of s. 800.03." The troubling implications for naturists are obvious.

SB 1800 was referred to the Senate Criminal Justice Committee, where it was allowed to die.

SENATE BILL 2544 Sponsor: Sen. Ronda Storms (R-Tampa). As introduced, this bill greatly enhanced penalties for certain crimes. Its original language included 800.03 in the list of crimes for which the penalty would be increased. For example, a second offense under 800.03 would have become a third degree felony, and a third offense would have been a second degree felony, carrying a mandatory five years in prison. If SB 2544 were to have passed the Senate in its original form, the proposals it contained would have become law, since its companion (HB 41) had already passed the House.

SB 2544 was referred to the Senate Criminal Justice Committee, where it was allowed to receive a hearing today, but only after references to 800.03 were entirely removed.

A GRATIFYING RESPONSE

In its March 29 Action Alert, the Naturist Action Committee asked Florida residents to take action by contacting members of the Florida State Senate Committee on Criminal Justice.

Your response was impressive! Immediately following NAC's call for action, lawmakers and their staff members began reporting a sudden and sustained onslaught of polite and well reasoned letters, e-mails and phone calls from those who opposed the bills.

As a direct result of your coordinated and timely contacts with Florida lawmakers, three of the four bills (SB 1800, SB 1842 and SB 2058) were denied hearings in the Senate Criminal Justice Committee.

Today, the fourth bill (SB 2544) was given a hearing conditionally. The condition, as set forth by Criminal Justice Committee Chair Sen. Nancy Argenziano in a communication with the bill's sponsor, Sen. Ronda Storms, was that all references to 800.03 must be deleted from the bill. NAC board member Morley Schloss, who has worked closely and tirelessly on these bills, has confirmed with a spokesman for the committee and a staffer in Sen. Storms' office that the removal of 800.03 from the text of SB 2544 was the direct result of YOUR grass roots contacts with members of the Senate Criminal Justice Committee.

THANK YOU! The Naturist Action Committee appreciates each of you who chose to make a difference by responding to NAC's call for action. It worked!

COOPERATION

The Naturist Action Committee has been working for months on these legislative issues, alongside local Florida naturist groups and committed Florida naturist leaders. NAC extends its appreciation to all those groups and their leaders, but special thanks must go to South Florida Free Beaches (SFFB), a well established and politically aware group that has allowed NAC unrestricted access to the professional Florida legislative lobbyist it retains. NAC has picked up a portion of the expense for that lobbyist during the 2007 legislative session.

NAC also singles out the members of The WildFyre Society for special commendation. Their responses came in large numbers.

The American Association for Nude Recreation (AANR) and the Florida Association for Nude Recreation (FANR) opposed many of the same bills opposed by NAC. An exception was SB 2058, which was actually filed at AANR's specific request, using language supplied by AANR.

Although NAC's successful grass roots campaign for contacting lawmakers was a tactic they chose not to endorse, AANR and FANR did authorize their legislative lobbyist to work against the bills behind the scenes. The Naturist Action Committee is grateful for that help.

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 Action Alerts, you'll find the text of this NAC Action Alert, along with links to the complete text of each of these Florida bills, existing Florida law and pertinent court cases.

PLEASE HELP NAC HELP NATURISTS

The Naturist Action Committee is the nonprofit volunteer political adjunct to The Naturist Society. NAC exists to advance and protect the rights and interests of naturists throughout North America.

The continual vigilance required to protect naturists from dangerous legislation comes with a price tag. The Naturist Action Committee relies entirely on your voluntary support. 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
Board Member Morley Schloss     -
morleynaturist@hotmail.com
Online Rep. Dennis Kirkpatrick  -
naturist@sunclad.com
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