California moved within a stroke of the governor’s pen of mandating gender neutral bathrooms on Monday, when the state legislature passed a bill eliminating gender specific single-occupancy bathrooms.
The first portion of Assembly bill 1732 reads:
All single-user toilet facilities in any business establishment, place of public accommodation, or state or local government agency shall be identified as all-gender toilet facilities by signage that complies with Title 24 of the California Code of Regulations, and designated for use by no more than one occupant at a time or for family or assisted use.
Inspectors are given license to check for compliance with the bill’s signage requirement. With the wide-ranging authority given to California regulatory bodies to apply monetary and other consequences, this bill raises the question of whether this will put yet another regulatory burden on California businesses.
The bill, authored by Democratic Assembly Member Philip Ting (D-San Francisco) goes on to read:
For the purposes of this section, “single-user toilet facility” means a toilet facility with no more than one water closet and one urinal with a locking mechanism controlled by the user.
A comment from bill author Assemblyman Ting read in part, “…current practices that restrict access to single-occupancy restrooms by gender create problems of safety, fairness, and convenience.” Ting argued that gender specific, single-occupancy restrooms are a “burden” on LGBT persons.
Certain Republicans managed to vote for the bill in committee while logging a “no” vote when the bill came to the floor. Republican Assemblyman Rocky Chavez, for example, voted to pass the bill through the Business and Professions Committee, but was counted as “no vote recorded” when the bill came to the floor the first time. Later, Chavez voted to pass the bill in an Assembly floor vote after the bill passed in the State Senate.
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