California businesses and state government buildings may be required to make single-occupancy restrooms available to all genders starting next year if a bill authored by Assemblyman Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, is signed into law.
The state Assembly on Monday passed Assembly Bill 1732 with a 57-18 vote following a 28-7 Senate vote last Thursday.
If signed into law, the bill could establish the nation's most inclusive restroom access law, according to Ting's office. It would require all single-user toilet facilities in any business, place of public accommodation or government agency to be identified as all-gender facilities. (Read Weekly's story, "Palo Alto students, families push district to evolve with changing gender norms").
"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," Ting said in a statement, referring to a North Carolina bill that was passed in March requiring people to use public restrooms consistent with their gender at birth.
"Restricting access to single use restrooms defies reason. It is a basic necessity of life and everyone should get in and out on the same terms.
By signing this bill, Gov. Jerry Brown can chart a new course for equality that other states should follow," Ting said.
The bill is sponsored by Equality California, the Transgender Law Center and California NOW, according to Ting's office.
"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," Kris Hayashi, executive director of the Oakland-based Transgender Law Center, said in a statement.
The bill is next headed to Brown for his signature or veto before the end of September. If signed into law, the bill would take effect on March 1, 2017.