Posted: April 11, 2024


This month let’s talk about the legislative processes used in most states, provinces, and at the federal level. If you’ve ever seen the movie Mr. Smith Goes to Washington starring Jimmy Stewart, you might remember the idealistic nature of his fight to enact a law to correct a wrong. There was subterfuge and backstabbing and false accusations. All of these things really happen.
On its base level a bill is supposed to be written to correct a wrong or help codify a standard set of practices. In reality, many times a bill is brought up because a legislator or one of the groups trying to influence them have a pet peeve or perceived wrong they ”need to correct” or ”to protect the public from” for their own good.
As nudists we are thought of as odd or deviant by some. Our way of life is joked about or marginalized. We fight hard to correct the misunderstanding of nude recreation. GAT reads bills daily where a legislator or someone has decided any bare flesh is bad. It could be a toddler running naked on the beach, a college student streaking a public event, or a social protester riding their bike to fight global warming with their child. These events are enough to make someone introduce a bill to restrict another’s right to freedom of expression.
We fight to make the language of bills reflect a response to an actual egregious event or try to point out the bill is so untenable to the other lawmakers that they can’t support it. Sometimes the lawmaker makes that job easy, but not always. A Missouri legislator recently introduced a bill that in effect would mean all people must be clothed at all times. A baby being born must be dressed as it emerges from the womb. Good luck!
Legislation is supposed to be for the benefit of all, or at least the majority, not an exercise in seeing how bad a law you can write and get passed. The only way we find out about these bills, and the only way we can fight them, is by all of us contributing to the effort to research bills and stop them before they can see the signature of a governor, president, or other official. GAT depends on your membership and your financial support to find these things and point out the error of them before they are enacted. Thank you for your support!

-Tim Mullins

AANR Government Affairs Chair and AANR Vice President.


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