Buncombe Rep. Tim Moffitt has introduced legislation to add public female toplessness to behavior prohibited by the state's indecent exposure laws.
The proposal would add that "for the purposes of this section, the term 'private parts' means external organs of sex and of excretion, including the nipple, or any portion of the areola, of the human female breast" to the state's law, making exposure a misdemeanor. Davidson County Rep. Rayne Brown, also a Republican, is co-sponsoring the bill with Moffitt.
The law has a specific exemption for breastfeeding, but would make the topless rallies like the ones Asheville has seen for the past two years illegal.
Currently, no state or local laws prohibit female toplessness. Before last year's rally, Mayor Terry Bellamy and all members of Asheville City Council signed a letter asking people to avoid the event and declared their intent to seek state legislation "that will clarify the law and allow Asheville and other communities in North Carolina to respond more effectively."