Ohio Legislature blocks barefoot man from statehouse

Mar 12, 2012, 11:19 AM | Updated: 1:52 pm

Bob Neinast said even though he only wears shoes three or four times a year his feet look pretty good. (Image courtesy Bob Neinast)

The Ohio Legislature recently passed a rule to keep a barefoot activist and others from walking through the statehouse without shoes.

“As far as I can tell, they are just absolutely convinced that it is improper. It just offends them terribly,” said Bob Neinast of his barefoot walks through the hall.

“I’ve been continuously barefoot more or less since about 1996,” said Neinast.

In an appearance on 97.3 KIRO FM’s Ross and Burbank Show, Neinast said the Ohio statehouse is a “really, really nice building,” and a place he enjoys walking.

Listen to Barefoot advocate Bob Neinast

“It’s got some floors that are just wonderful to walk on,” said Neinast. “When I’m downtown I’ll walk through it.”

But there will be no more barefoot walks through that building for Neinast. The new rule, approved by the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review, says all visitors must be wearing “shoes or comparable footwear.”

Statehouse spokesman Gregg Dodd has said the requirement was prompted by concerns about public safety.

For those that think the move, and the no shoes, no shirt, no service mandate is pretty standard, Neinast said you’d be surprised.

“It’s actually fairly rare,” said Neinast. “Go into places, you’ll actually see many fewer signs than you think there are.”

He said most establishments welcome him even if he is barefoot.

“They’re OK in most stores, but every now and again I will encounter somebody who just gets so torqued off by the whole thought of it that they’ll make a big fuss about it.”

The Ohio legislature apparently is one of the party that don’t like it.

“The thought of somebody using their sacred hall barefoot just sets them off the edge,” said Neinast, who only wears shoes about three or four times a year. He thinks it should be “to each his own.”

“I’m not going to force you to go barefoot as long as you don’t force me to wear shoes.”

By JAMIE GRISWOLD, MyNorthwest.com Editor
The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Ohio Legislature blocks barefoot man from statehouse