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Topeka City Council Considers Ban On Public Nudity

topeka_city_seal.jpg

This piece originally aired Aug. 6, 2015, during Morning Edition.

The Topeka City Council will consider a plan to outlaw public nudity. There’s currently nothing on the books making it illegal for people in the Kansas capital city to bare it all. 

At a meeting this week, City Councilman Jeff Coen called the Shunga Trail a gem in Topeka.

“Every time I ride, there’s bunny rabbits running across there. We’ve seen turtles and snakes,” Coen says.

But there are some things he doesn’t want see.

“I ride that with my 8-year-old. I don’t want to have to teach her the birds and the bees if we happen to come across the naked guy walking on the trail,” Coen says.

A local man is known to walk the trail naked. While that has caused complaints, he isn’t breaking any laws. Members of the council say they believe other copycats are now learning that they can be naked in public legally in Topeka.

The council could vote on a ban in the coming weeks. They considered the issue last year, but it never came up for a final vote.

The Topeka City Council is considering a proposal to outlaw public nudity.

Currently, there are no city ordinances against it. The issue has been raised recently due to complaints about a naked man seen walking along the Shunga Trail.

City Councilman Jeff Coen says now that the public is aware there's no law against it, more people may take advantage of the situation.

“I think I’m a little more concerned that we’ll get the ‘we can do that?’ copycats. I think this deserves to be voted on,” Coen says.

Last year, the council considered a plan that would have outlawed public nudity in Topeka, but the issue never came up for a final vote.

Stephen Koranda is Statehouse reporter for Kansas Public Radio and the Kansas News Service, a collaboration of KCUR, KMUW, Kansas Public Radio and High Plains Radio covering health, education and politics.