Assembly Passes Gender-Neutral Bathroom Bill

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SACRAMENTO -- The California Assembly passed a bill Monday that would require all single-use restrooms in business, public and government establishments to become gender-neutral restrooms.

AB 1732 would require all single-use restrooms in the above mentioned establishments to be identified as "all-gender toilet facilities."

"California continues to move forward, be forward thinking, think about how we can be more inclusive and frankly, more tolerant," Assembly member Philip Ting said.

Ting told FOX40 he wanted to consider legislation with a common sense approach that would make going to the restroom more convenient for all people, including families with children, people assisting others with limited mobility, and members of the LGBT community including transgender people.

"My hope is that we de-politicize this bathroom issue," Ting said.

"But you are politicizing it," assembly member James Gallagher said.

Gallagher was one of 18 assembly members who opposed the bill Monday. He argued that if the bill became law, that would give the state the power to decide how individual business owners and public entities should best serve their customers. He also argued that the gender inclusive restroom bill would inconvenience far more people than gender specific restrooms did. He said women, specifically would be inconvenienced because of men's messy bathroom habits.

"No woman wants to use a bathroom after many men have been in that bathroom," Gallagher said.

Assembly member Ting said the new legislation would not impose a big cost on business owners because, in theory, they only thing they would need to change would be one or two signs on their restroom doors. He added that the language of the bill included no penalty for business owners who did not comply with the law by a specific date.

FOX40 reached out to various local business owners to discuss how the gender neutral single-use bathroom legislation may impact their business. None of them chose to comment on camera. Off camera, some said they did not want to make a political statement about restrooms.

There is currently no date set for the Senate to have a hearing on AB 1732.

Lawmakers say that if the bill does become law, it would take effect in March of 2017.