AB 1732 Requires Single-Use Restrooms to Be Accessible to All Genders
Update: Gov. Brown has signed Phil Ting's AB 1732 into law, thereby establishing the most inclusive restroom access in the country.
Public restrooms — and who is allowed to use them — have been a topic of much discussion and debate across the country over the past six months.
The conversations were largely sparked by a North Carolina law passed in March, which requires people to use public restrooms that match the gender they were assigned at birth.
The following month, Mississippi went one step further when it passed a law allowing anti-LGBTQ discrimination on the basis of religion.
In response to these types of laws being enacted in other states around the country, Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) authored AB 1732.
The bill would “require single-occupancy restrooms in California businesses, government buildings, and places of public accommodation to be universally accessible to all genders.”
Will AB 1732 Become Law?
The bill was approved by the state Senate on August 18 by a vote of 28-7. It was subsequently passed by the state Assembly on August 22 by a 57-16 vote.
Now that AB 1732 has been approved by both chambers of the state legislature, it will head to Governor Jerry Brown, who has until the end of September to either sign or veto the bill.
If the bill is signed into law, it will go into effect on March 1, 2017.
UPDATE: Gov. Brown signed AB 1732 into law on September 29.
AB 1732, which requires single-user restrooms to be all gender, is headed to the Governor's desk. #AccessNotHate pic.twitter.com/ifr0kI39p3
— Phil Ting (@PhilTing) August 23, 2016
“This bill sends a simple message that everyone’s rights must be respected and protected. It provides a common sense alternative to the hate being enacted in other states,” said Ting, in a recent press release about AB 1732.
“Restricting access to single use restrooms defies reason,” Ting continued. “It is a basic necessity of life and everyone should get in and out on the same terms.”
“By signing this bill, Governor Jerry Brown can chart a new course for equality that other states should follow.”
Community Support for AB 1732
AB 1732 was sponsored by several organizations fighting on behalf of California women and the LGBTQ community, both in the Bay Area and throughout the state.
The list includes the Transgender Law Center (headquartered in Oakland), Equality California, and California NOW (National Organization for Women).
Transgender Law Center
“This law is a simple measure that will make everyone’s lives easier,” said Kris Hayashi, Executive Director of Transgender Law Center, in a recent press release.
“Having restrooms open to all genders will mean less hassle for everyone going about their day, and will allow people who don’t fit neatly into expectations of what it looks like to be male or female to use the restroom without fear of harassment.”
Asm. @PhilTing's all-gender restroom bill now awaits the governor's signature! https://t.co/TCKtSG5WtV pic.twitter.com/Tue4hela3k
— Equality California (@eqca) August 23, 2016
“This is a common sense proposal,” said Rick Zbur, Executive Director of Equality California, according to a statement released by the LGBTQ civil rights organization.
“Our home restrooms are already all-gender. So are restrooms on airplanes and at many hospitals and gas stations. The benefits of this simple change will enable all Californians to use restrooms in a way that is more safe, fair, and convenient.”
“Having access to facilities when they are most needed is important to our health,” said Jerilyn Stapleton, President of California NOW, according to a recent press release.
“We shouldn’t have to wait or postpone having our needs fairly met in public. Everyone should experience equal waiting time. We have universal bathroom access at home and on airplanes so why not require it in public buildings?
To learn more about AB 1732, check out this press release from Assemblymember Ting’s office or read the full bill text on the state legislature’s website.
UPDATE: As mentioned above, Gov. Brown signed AB 1732 into law on September 29.