Wisconsin Republicans Propose Bill To Outlaw Public Nudity After Naked Bike Run

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Wisconsin Republicans have proposed legislation to criminalize public nudity and the presence of minors at any event where people are naked, The Associated Press (AP) reported Thursday.

The draft legislation comes after a widely circulated photograph from an annual naked bike ride in Madison, Wisconsin, which amassed over 150 riders who cycled without any clothes on. The photo, which depicted a minor participating in the event, sparked outrage among some GOP lawmakers, including Wisconsin Republican Rep. Tom Tiffany. Tiffany raised the issue with Attorney General Merrick Garland during a congressional hearing, according to The AP.

The proposed legislation consists of two bills.

The first would categorize public nudity as a misdemeanor offense, regardless of context. Currently, nudity is only deemed unlawful if it’s considered indecent exposure.

The second bill would criminalize allowing anyone under 18 to witness a nude individual during events where adults intentionally ditch clothing, such as the naked bike ride. Additionally, photographing a minor participating in such an event would be illegal unless the intent is to report it to law enforcement. (RELATED: Kids Pole Dance With Nearly-Nude Strippers At North Carolina Pride Event)

Violations of either bill could result in up to nine months in jail and a fine of $10,000, The AP noted.

“It’s kind of a joke, but it’s not a joke,” Republican Senate President Chris Kapenga, the primary sponsor of the bills, said during a Senate Committee hearing. “This is pretty serious, especially in today’s society.”

Democratic lawmakers, including Sen. LaTonya Johnson, expressed concerns the legislation might inadvertently criminalize attending events with partially nude performers, potentially preventing some artists from performing in Wisconsin, The AP noted.

“If you agree that people shouldn’t expose their genitals in public and that minor children shouldn’t be paraded naked through streets and photographed, then I encourage your support on these bills,” Kapenga said, per The AP.