Unconstitutional laws being enforced: Part II, some local munis violate state nudity preemption laws
For Unconstitutional laws being enforced: Part I, beaches continue to flout state laws on nudity, click here.
The Central Savannah River Area is now under the microscope for their illegal laws.
From March 10 to March 27, we investigated the laws and ordinances of beachside towns and counties. While most beach resorts decided to comply with state laws, some decided that they can just go ahead and enforce laws more strict than state law.
For the purposes of comparisons, we have divvied up each location into categories. One category is a go-zone, the other category is a no-go zone. Places that do not have laws of their own, that have laws more lenient than state law, or that follow state laws (since the only three states with restrictions are landlocked), are classified as go-zones — these are shown in either green or the standard font as posted in the table’s theme. Locations that have laws more strict than state law are classified as no-go zones, and are shown in red font.
This is an investigation into the nudity laws in various cities and towns in the Central Savannah River Area. Some municipalities are violating state laws and we’re gonna hold them accountable.
With the weather now beginning to warm up, this investigative report takes a look at nudity laws in every city in Central Georgia and the Central Savannah River Area Region of South Carolina and why some cities are violating state laws by enforcing strict anti-nudity laws.
|City/Town or County Name||Name of law||State version of law (if applicable)||Nudity ban in local ordinance?||Breastfeeding exemption?||Legally enforceable?|
|Aiken||public indecency||no state law||Yes||No||Yes, however, ordinance is likely unconstitutional due to the fact that it allows several other unnecessary exemptions.|
|North Augusta||public indecency||no state law||Yes||No||Yes, no exemptions whatsoever.|
|Barnwell||indecent exposure||indecent exposure (16-15-130)||Yes||No||No. State law of the same name, which allows for nudity in public, supersedes the more strict local ordinance. City can be sued for enforcing local ordinance instead of state law.|
|Blackville||indecent exposure||indecent exposure (16-15-130)||Yes||No||No. State law of the same name, which allows for nudity in public, supersedes the more strict local ordinance. Town can be sued for enforcing local ordinance instead of state law.|
|Williston||indecent exposure||indecent exposure (16-15-130)||Yes||No||No. State law of the same name, which allows for nudity in public, supersedes the more strict local ordinance. Town can be sued for enforcing local ordinance instead of state law.|
|Grovetown, Ga.||lewdness, indecent exposure, obscene language||No||Yes||Yes, also to note: cursing is banned in the city.|
|Hampton||indecent exposure||indecent exposure (16-15-130)||No||Yes||Yes, also to note: cursing is banned in the city, and it’s illegal to be within 7 yards of a cop making an arrest.|
|Augusta, Ga.||indecent exposure; lewdness; profanity||No||Yes||Yes; also to note: cursing is banned in the city.|
|Blythe, Ga.||indecent exposure; lewdness; profanity||No||Yes||Yes; also to note: cursing is banned in the city.|
|Hephzibah, Ga.||indecent exposure; lewdness; profanity||No||Yes||Yes; also to note: cursing is banned in the city.|
|Sylvania||indecency||public indecency (Section 16-6-8)||Yes||No||Yes. Even though Georgia state law permits breastfeeding in public, subset (e) of Section 16-6-8 grants municipalities the right to outlaw breastfeeding in public, in addition to nudity.|
|Washington, Ga.||public indecency||public indecency (Section 16-6-8)||No||Yes||Yes|
NOTE: Every place has a ban on private nudity that only exempts breastfeeding.
Amongst the areas mentioned: North Augusta and Sylvania have the most strict bans. There is no exceptions for any practice of even partial nudity (including breastfeeding), anywhere in the two municipalities. If a person even tries to breastfeed in North Augusta or Sylvania, they will be cited at best, arrested at worst. And yes, both ordinances are actually enforceable, because South Carolina does not have a public indecency ordinance while Georgia does not have an indecent exposure ordinance.
On the other hand, Aiken’s ordinance is not enforceable due to exemptions that likely amount to a violation of the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause. Barnwell, Blackville and Williston’s ordinances are unenforceable due to South Carolina’s preemption acts, that makes clear that state law trumps local ordinances if they are of a same or similar name. It’s the same reason why Charleston and Georgetown can’t enforce their indecent exposure ordinances (noted on here on Saturday) until they revise them to get it in line with state law.
Information on nudity laws for Allendale, Fairfax, Brooklet, Ga., Midville, Keysville, Trenton, Johnston, Twin City, Ga., Estill, Branchville, Eutawville, Holly Hill, Norway, Santee and Tignall, Ga. were not available.
We will try to get that info soon.