BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                    AB 1732


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          Date of Hearing:  April 5, 2016


                   ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON BUSINESS AND PROFESSIONS


                                  Rudy Salas, Chair


          AB 1732  
          (Ting) - As Amended March 30, 2016


          SUBJECT:  Single-user restrooms.


          SUMMARY:  Requires, commencing on March 1, 2017, businesses,  
          places of public accommodation, or state or local government  
          agencies that offer a single-user toilet facility to be  
          designated as an all-gender toilet facility, as specified, and  
          authorizes a local health officer or health inspector to inspect  
          for compliance.


          EXISTING LAW:


          1)Requires publicly and privately owned facilities where the  
          public congregates to be equipped with sufficient temporary or  
          permanent restrooms to meet the needs of the public at peak  
          hours. (Health and Safety Code (HSC) Section 118505(a))


          2)Requires every public agency that conducts an establishment  
          serving the public or open to the public and that maintains  
          therein restroom facilities for the public, shall make every  
          water closet for each sex maintained within the facilities  
          available without cost or charge to the patrons, guests, or  
          invitees of the establishment, and defines "public agency" to  








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          mean only the state and any agency of the state and a city, a  
          county, and a city and county.  (HSC Section 118500)


          3)Requires that public facilities have a particular number of  
          water closets based on total occupancy using a formula listed in  
          the Plumbing Code based on the number of male and female  
          occupants.  (Title 24, California Code of Regulations (CCR)  
          Section 422.1)


          4)Specifies that theaters, concert halls, and auditoriums with  
          fixed seating and sporting facilities with spectator seating and  
          amusement parks, grandstands, and stadiums, are required to have  
          three (3) water closets for every 400 male occupants and eight  
          (8) water closets for every 400 female occupants and also  
          requires one additional toilet for every 500 men and for every  
          125 women beyond 400.  (24 CCR Section 422.1)


          THIS BILL:


          1)Requires all single-user toilet facilities in any business  
          establishment, place of public accommodation, or state or local  
          government agency to be identified as all-gender toilet  
          facilities, and designated for use by no more than one occupant  
          at a time or for family or assisted use, beginning March 1,  
          2017. 


          2)Defines a "single-user toilet facility" to mean a toilet  
          facility with no more than one water closet and one urinal with  
          a locking mechanism controlled by the user.


          3)Specifies that during any inspection of a business or place of  
          public accommodation by a health officer or inspector, the  
          inspector may inspect for compliance, as specified.








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          FISCAL EFFECT:  Unknown.  This bill is keyed fiscal by the  
          Legislative Counsel.  


          COMMENTS:


          Purpose.  This bill is sponsored by  California NOW  ,  Equality  
          California  , and the  Transgender Law Center  .  According to the  
          author, "restrooms are a necessity of life, and access to them  
          influences our ability to participate in public life.  However,  
          current practices that restrict access to single-occupancy  
          restrooms by gender create problems of safety, fairness, and  
          convenience.  This burden disproportionately impacts members of  
          the LGBT community, women, and parents or caretakers of  
          dependents of the opposite gender.  We must change our focus  
          from segregating access to equalizing access to this solitary  
          room.  This will enable everyone to get in and out on the same  
          terms.  [This bill] eliminates the fears and frustration that  
          many people experience in public restrooms on a daily basis by  
          requiring all single-occupancy restrooms to be designated as  
          "all gender."  This is not a novel concept, as restrooms in  
          homes and airplanes, for example, are not gender-specific.  The  
          bill follows a best practice for the workplace set by the United  
          States Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health  
          Administration (OSHA) and is similar to local ordinances adopted  
          by cities across the nation to ensure that everyone's rights are  
          protected."


          Background.  The scope of this bill is limited to single-user  
          toilets located in a business, a place of public accommodation  
          or state or local government agency.  This bill does not address  
          multi-stall restrooms.  For those entities that offer  
          single-user restrooms, they will be required to make those  
          restrooms all-gender accessible.  Current law requires certain  
          public and privately owned facilities to maintain a designated  








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          number of restroom facilities made accessible to employees or  
          the general public depending on California Building Standards  
          Code (CBC) or other municipal code requirements.  People have  
          become accustomed to the traditional "male" and "female"  
          designations in order to determine the appropriate restroom  
          facility to use.  

          This bill will not change existing laws with respect to the  
          number of, specifications for, or other facility requirements  
          for restrooms that a business or entity must comply with under  
          the existing CBC or current local ordinances, but changes the  
          restroom access designation.  The author notes that the  
          traditions of gender-based restroom restrictions create three  
          categories of problems: 1) convenience; 2) fairness; and, 3)  
          safety.  In an effort to address those concerns, this bill will  
          require those businesses with "single-user" restrooms to be  
          universally accessible regardless of a person's gender  
          designation.  

          A universal access toilet facility may make it easier for  
          parents or caregivers of opposite genders to utilize an  
          available restroom and provides easier access for transgender or  
          gender non-conforming individuals to choose the appropriate  
          restroom to use.  According to an article in the Journal of  
          Public Management and Social Policy, Gender Restrooms and  
          Minority Stress: The Public Regulation of Gender and its Impact  
          on Transgender People's Lives", noted that "All people share the  
          real human need for safe restroom facilities when we go to work,  
          go to school, and participate in public life.  Since the need is  
          universal, one would think that it would be a priority of our  
          society to make sure restrooms are safe and available for all  
          people. Yet, the way gendered public restrooms are designed and  
          constructed harms transgender and gender non-conforming people,  
          some of whom may not conform to reified expectations of how men  
          and women will look and act."

          The California Building Standards Commission (CBSC) is  
          responsible for developing building standards for state owned  
          buildings, including University and State College buildings, and  








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          for developing green building standards for most buildings  
          except for housing, public schools, and hospitals.  The CBSC  
          publishes the CBC in Title 24 of the California Code of  
          Regulations every three years and its supplements, such as the  
          California Green Building Standards Code, in intervening years.   
          The building codes apply to all building occupancies and related  
          features and equipment throughout the state, and set  
          requirements for structural, mechanical, electrical, and  
          plumbing systems, and require measures for energy conservation,  
          green design, construction and maintenance, fire and life  
          safety, and accessibility.   The size of the facility, its  
          purpose, the number of occupants, or location can determine the  
          requirements for the number of water closets or toilet  
          facilities an entity is required to have.  This bill does not  
          require businesses to add or remove existing restroom facilities  
          or alter current restroom structures, it simply requires a  
          single-user toilet facility (meant for one single-user occupant  
          at a time) to be made available to any person, regardless of a  
          person's gender designation.  Enforcement of this bill is  
          delegated to a health officer or inspector, at the local level,  
          but does not require those inspectors to do so.  

          Signage Requirements.  The CBC requires certain signage  
          designations for restroom facilities which include only a  
          geometric symbol.  Terms frequently seen on restroom doors such  
          as "restroom" "male" or "female" are not currently required  
          under the current CBC.  Symbols are required on restroom doors  
          or immediately adjacent to restroom entrances when doors are not  
          available.  Geometric symbols are intended for visually impaired  
          persons to identify the appropriate restroom facility to use.   
          If word designations are included on the sign, then there are  
          additional compliance requirements including type, size and  
          font.  Compliance with the CBC requirements for bathroom signage  
          is typically handled by local building officials.  According to  
          the Department of General Services, geometric signage  
          designations were not required under state law until 1982.  This  
          bill does not require businesses to add or remove existing  
          restroom facilities or alter current restroom structures, it  
          simply requires a single-user restroom facility (meant for one  








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          single-user occupant at a time) to be made available to any  
          person.  

          California and Other States.  Several cities and a number of  
          educational institutions are in the process or have already  
          transitioned to a "universal access" approach to restroom  
          facilities.  In the City and County of San Francisco, an  
          ordinance was proposed in January of 2016, that would mandate  
          businesses and places of public accommodation designate  
          single-user toilet facilities that are available to the public  
          or employees as all-gender and accessible to persons of any  
          gender identity, as specified.  A January 11, 2016 article in  
          Time Magazine stated that if that ordinance passes, "it will add  
          San Francisco alongside Philadelphia, Seattle, Washington, D.C.,  
          West Hollywood, Calif[ornia]. and Austin, Texas, to the list of  
          cities with gender-neutral bathroom provisions. More than 150  
          U.S. colleges and universities have also instituted such  
          measures, including the entire University of California system."  
           

          Prior Related Legislation. AB 662 (Bonilla), Chapter 742,  
          Statutes of 2015, requires a person, private firm, organization,  
          or corporation that owns or manages a commercial place of public  
          amusement to install and maintain at least one adult changing  
          station for persons with a physical disability, as specified.  

          SB 1350 (Lara) of 2014, would have directed the CBSC, as part of  
          the next triennial update of the California Building Standards  
          Code adopted after January 1, 2015, to require that, if a baby  
          changing station is installed in a new or newly renovated  
          restroom in a place of public accommodation, the station be  
          equally available regardless of gender.  NOTE: This bill was  
          vetoed by Governor Brown.  In his veto message he indicated that  
          the bill was unnecessary and could be adequately handled by the  
          private sector.

          SB 1358 (Wolk and Lara) of 2014, would have required buildings  
          owned, or partially owned by state or local governments, as well  
          as other private buildings open to the public, as specified, to  








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          maintain at least one safe, sanitary, and convenient baby diaper  
          changing station that is accessible to both women and men.   
          NOTE: This bill was vetoed by Governor Brown.  In his veto  
          statement he indicated that the bill was unnecessary regulation  
          that could be adequately handled by the private sector.

          ARGUMENTS IN SUPPORT: 


           Equality California  writes in support, "[This bill] will help  
          resolve safety concerns of transgender and gender non-conforming  
          people, promote bathroom equity for everyone, regardless of  
          gender, and give greater convenience for parents of  
          different-gender children and people with disabilities who rely  
          on caretakers of a different gender.  [This bill] eliminates the  
          fears and frustration that many people experience in restrooms  
          on a daily basis.  Unrestricted restroom access is not a novel  
          concept.  Restrooms in homes and airplanes, for example, are not  
          gender-specific. The same is true for portable restrooms,  
          existing restrooms in many small businesses (such as small  
          restaurants or coffee shops), and existing "family restrooms" in  
          airports and other commercial locations. The value of equal  
          access to single occupancy restrooms is increasingly being  
          recognized.  In 2015, the United States Department of Labor's  
          Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) named  
          gender nonspecific single-occupancy restrooms as a best practice  
          in the workplace.  This bill allows people to use the restroom  
          that is right for them."


          ARGUMENTS IN OPPOSITION:


          The  Health Officers Association of California  writes in  
          opposition, "while health officers recognize the need to ensure  
          equitable restroom access to every individual, public restroom  
          signage falls outside of the health officers' purview.  As  
          introduced, [this bill] would create the expectation that local  
          health officers should inspect restroom signage in every  








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          business or pace of public accommodation.  This is greatly  
          outside of the health officers' scope, and is an issue that does  
          not require the health officers' medical and public health  
          expertise." 


          POLICY ISSUE FOR CONSIDERATION:


          As currently drafted, this bill authorizes a health officer or  
          inspector to inspect for compliance with the new restroom access  
          requirements; however, as noted by the Health Officers  
          Association of California, this type of inspection is currently  
          outside of their scope.  The author may wish to remove the  
          health officers from this bill to ensure enforcement of this  
          requirement is delegated to the appropriate authority.  


          AMENDMENT:


          In order to address the issue raised above, the author should  
          amend the bill as follows: 


          On page, 2, strike lines 15 through 17, inclusive, and insert,  
           During any inspection of a business or a place of public  
          accommodation by an inspector, building official, or other local  
          official responsible for code enforcement, the inspector or  
          official may inspect for compliance with this section.  





          REGISTERED SUPPORT:  


          Equality California (co-sponsor)








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          American Civil Liberties Union of California


          San Francisco Unified School District


          Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors




          REGISTERED OPPOSITION:  
          Health Officers Association of California


          California Right to Life Committee, Inc. 






          Analysis Prepared by:Elissa Silva / B. & P. / (916) 319-3301