- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 19, 2015

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - The Topeka City Council has approved a ban that bars public nudity in most places, but allows exceptions for breast-feeding mothers and children under age 5.

The measure approved Tuesday makes public nudity a misdemeanor punishable by a fine between $1 and $499 and a jail term of up to 30 days, The Topeka Capital-Journal (https://bit.ly/1NkDA6E ) reported. Acting city attorney Mary Feighny said under the new rules, the city wouldn’t prosecute someone who was naked in their own yard.

Councilwoman Sylvia Ortiz said the city needed to take action against public nudity, because “we’ve got too many naked people running around, and it’s not the same person.”

Councilman Jeff Coen sponsored the proposal and said it was based on a similar nudity ban implemented by the city of Manhattan that has successfully withstood legal challenges. He put forward the measure after hearing reports of nudity in areas that included the Shunga Trail and the city’s Wanamaker corridor.

“I am a huge supporter of individual liberties, but jogging naked down Wanamaker affects the quality of life for the rest of us,” he said.

The measure does allow nudity at public places outside of a home, “where nudity or exposure is necessary or customarily expected.” They include public restrooms, locker and/or dressing room facilities and doctor’s offices.

The measure also provides an exception for theaters, concert halls, art centers, museums or similar places in which nudity is incorporated into the art exhibit or theatrical performance.

The City Council previously considered public nudity bans twice, once in 2005 and last September.


Information from: The Topeka (Kan.) Capital-Journal, https://www.cjonline.com

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