Wisconsin Senate Committee takes its turn advancing anti-nudity legislation
Partisan lines drawn over public nudity laws in Wisconsin Senate Committee
MADISON, WI – In yet another development in the ongoing legislative saga, the Wisconsin Senate Committee on Mental Health, Substance Abuse Prevention, Children and Families has now passed the contentious Senate Bills 477 & 478. In this latest advancement, both bills passed by party-line 3-2 votes during the executive session on November 28th, mirroring the party-line vote that was held on the bills just two weeks ago by the Assembly Committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety, and underscoring the partisan divide on the issue of public nudity and civil liberties.
Chaired by Senator Jesse James (R), with vice-chair Senator Rachael Cabral-Guevara (R), the Wisconsin Senate Committee on Mental Health, Substance Abuse Prevention, Children and Families reflects a notable partisan composition. This committee, integral to the recent advancement of Senate Bills 477 & 478, also includes Senator Joan Ballweg (R), alongside Democrats Senator LaTonya Johnson and Senator Dianne Hesselbein. The executive session was brief, and no debate was raised over the bills before votes were cast.
The bills and their implications
Senate Bill 477, paralleling Assembly Bill 504, proposes regulating the attendance of children at public events with groups of nude adults. Conversely, Senate Bill 478, similar to Assembly Bill 503, focuses on the intentional exposure of genitals, with provisions for penalties. Critics, including civil liberties advocates and naturists, argue that these bills impinge upon freedom of expression and pose risks to the naturist way of life.
Regarding the legislative process, the bills, having received committee approval, are now eligible for introduction and voting in either the Wisconsin Senate or Assembly. The process does not dictate a set order for their introduction, and both houses must pass the bills for them to proceed to the governor’s desk.
With the Legislature’s schedule indicating a break in floor activities from late November 2023 to mid-January 2024, it is unlikely that these bills will be considered again until the new year. Activists in the state face uncertainty regarding how these bills will be prioritized by the legislative bodies; they could be addressed promptly upon resumption or may face delays. This unpredictability necessitates vigilant tracking of the legislative calendars to stay abreast of developments.
In Wisconsin’s current political climate with a strong Republican majority, the likelihood of these bills’ passage is significant. This backdrop amplifies the importance of Governor Tony Evers’ role. As the Democrat governor has not yet announced his position on these bills, his decision to sign or veto them will be crucial in determining their fate.
The importance of organization
As Wisconsin’s Senate Bills 477 & 478 continue their legislative journey, it’s crucial to recognize the efforts being made to oppose them.
The American Association for Nude Recreation (AANR) has played an important role in this resistance by retaining a lobbyist in the state. This strategic move by AANR demonstrates a strong commitment to challenging these bills and protecting the rights of naturists.
The Naturist Action Committee (NAC) has also been instrumental in organizing and guiding opposition efforts, including communicating with local committee members and helping to organize a vocal response in the previously held public hearing in the Assembly. NAC’s updates and advisories are key resources for those looking to stay informed and participate in this cause. To get involved and stay updated on the latest developments, visit naturistaction.org.
Planet Nude invites you to support these organizations and get involved. It’s about standing together and making a difference. Let’s keep the momentum going and stay true to our cause. #KeepBodiesFree. 🪐
More background on the Wisconsin anti nudity bills:
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