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News covering policy and issues related to city and county governments in the Ozarks.

Springfield Citizens Have their Say on Proposed Changes to Indecent Exposure Ordinance


Several Springfield citizens told City Council last night why they support or oppose proposed changes to the city’s indecent exposure ordinance.

The changes, proposed by councilman Justin Burnett would expand the area of the breast that women can’t show in public. The current ordinance requires women to cover their nipples and areolas in public.  Burnett is requesting stricter language that requires women to cover their breasts from the top of the areola down.

City attorney Dan Wichmer told council members that, even with the changes, rallies like the recent Free the Nipple Rallies on Park Central Square would still be allowed to take place.

"What the protests did were within our nudity ordinance, and even under the proposed ordinance, I would be hard pressed to argue that they didn't have a right to have a free speech gathering for that," he said.

John Frederick read from the book of Genesis when he got up to speak for the changes.  He says the city’s current city ordinance is lacking and needs change.

"Springfield, Missouri is in a soft zone regarding this type of situation because it brings crime, it bring pornography, it brings all sorts of sexual activity and lawlessness and things like that," he said.

Jessica Lawson is a college student and mother of three.  She’s concerned the proposed changes are gender-biased.

"Is the word female a typo or is this bill intentionally discriminating against one specific gender?" she asked.

City Council is expected to vote on the proposed changes to the indecent exposure ordinance in two weeks.

Click here to view a video of last night's council meeting.

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