Spokane Public Nudity Initiative Ready For Signature Gathering - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Spokane Public Nudity Initiative Ready For Signature Gathering

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KHQ.COM - City of Spokane Hearing Examiner Says the ordinance prohibiting public nudity is proper for an initiative

In January, Spokane resident Beth Solscheid filed an initiative proposing to create a law making it a misdemeanor for public nudity at any place the general public has a right to be or see.

The initiative was spearheaded by Solscheid and friends, Kimberly Curry and hillary Van Aiken.

On January 27th, the City Council referred the proposed initiative to the Hearing Examiner for legal review. As a result, and in accordance with SMC 2.02.040, the Hearing Examiner was charged with preparing a formal written opinion as to the legal validity and effect of the proposed measure.

The Hearing Examiners opinion states, “the proposed ordinance prohibiting public nudity is a proper subject for an initiative. The proposed ordinance is well within the authority of initiative power. Because the initiative satisfies the threshold question, the Hearing Examiner reviewed the most likely substantive challenges to the proposed ordinance, namely potential claims of breach of freedom of expression and overbreadth. In the Hearing Examiners opinion, Initiative 2014-1 regulates only conduct, rather than expression, and therefore is not directly susceptible to a first amendment challenge.” “In sum, the opinion is that I 2014-1, if enacted would be legally valid and effective.”

The trio said they're not interested in shutting down Bikini Barista shops — which have suggestive names such as XXXtreme Espresso, Bare Beans and Devil's Brew — only getting the employees to cover up a little more. "We feel like we're being pretty reasonable," the three have stated. “We're not asking them to wear turtlenecks or anything like that. We'd just like them to wear bras or bikinis."

The initiative would make it unlawful for any person to”…knowingly expose a designated body part in a public place without a full and opaque covering.” There are a number of clear exceptions allowed in the ordinance; nursing mothers and children under 10 and people at art and medical classes, medical offices and bathrooms, saunas and changing rooms associated with licensed businesses would be exempt from the law. Additionally, the ordinance includes males and females.

Supporters need 7,431 signatures to qualify for the November 2014 election. Solscheid, Van Aiken and Curry are confident they will be successful in gathering enough signatures to get the initiative on the ballot this year.

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