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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- North Carolina lawmakers are moving closer to a change in state law that could send women to prison for going topless in public.

A bill headed to a vote in the North Carolina House would insert language into the state's indecent exposure law to expand the definition of private parts to explicitly include female nipples. Depending on the situation, such exposure could be prosecuted as a misdemeanor or as a Class H felony, punishable by up to 6 months in prison for first-time offenders.

Davidson County Republican and co-sponsor Rep. Rayne Brown told members of the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday that her constituents were concerned after topless rallies promoting women's equity were held the last two years in Asheville. The bill leaves in place an exception for breastfeeding mothers.

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