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May 7, 2016 1:36 PM

NH House committee says no to giving towns power to ban toplessness

CONCORD - Toplessness at town pools, ponds and beaches is still protected as freedom of speech, say some New Hampshire lawmakers.

According to, state representatives have recommended killing a bill that would give towns the power to tell women to keep their nipples covered. Cities already have the power to regulate what coverings people must wear at municipal properties, but towns have to abide by state ruling.

The bill filed by Hampton Republican Sen. Nancy Stiles would have given towns the authority to regulate the times and places of bathing, sunbathing and swimming in municipal parks, beaches, pools and other municipal properties and the clothing to be worn by the users, all through local ordinances. The bill also gave power to the Department of Resources and Economic Development, which oversees state parks including Hampton Beach, to create rules for “clothing to be worn by users” at places of bathing, sunbathing and swimming.

The House Municipal and County Government Committee voted April 28 as "inexpedient to legislate" and recommended the full House vote it down on the floor May 11.

Recent efforts to prevent women from exposing their breasts have come after a "Free the Nipple" movement led to two women being cited for going topless at a Gilford beach.

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