Equal Access to Changing Tables Required By New DC Council Bill
Nadeau introduces bill to ensure all families have access to appropriate changing facilities
WASHINGTON – Today, Ward 1 D.C. Councilmember Brianne K. Nadeau introduced a bill to ensure equal access to changing tables in publicly accessible government buildings and newly constructed or substantially renovated public buildings. The bill recognizes that in the District, all families regardless of composition should be able to access space where they can properly attend to the needs of the child in their care. The Equal Access to Changing Tables Amendment Act of 2019 has majority support on Council with co-introduction by Councilmembers Charles Allen and Robert C. White, Jr and co-sponsorship by Councilmembers Elissa Silverman, Mary Cheh, Kenyan McDuffie, David Grosso, Vincent Gray, and Jack Evans. It was referred to the Committee of the Whole.
“Too many places in the District lack changing tables, or have changing tables only in the women’s room,” said Councilmember Nadeau. “Parents are forced to find alternative options like unsanitary surfaces such as sinks, restroom floors and counters. This legislation recognizes that in the District of Columbia, families come in all shapes and sizes and that when an individual chooses to take on the great responsibility of caring for a young child or infant, we in the government must respect that commitment in the best way we can, by ensuring equal access to the services that we deem critical for a thriving family.”
This legislation has two components. First, it mandates that in publicly accessible government buildings, each floor that is publicly accessible and has a restroom must include at least one diaper-changing accommodation that is available to all people. This goal can be achieved in three ways: by placing a diaper-changing accommodation in a men’s restroom and a women’s restroom; by placing at least one diaper-changing accommodation in a gender-neutral restroom; or by placing at least one diaper-changing accommodation in a private room, space, or area that is available for use by all genders.
This legislation also mandates the same access to diaper-changing accommodation requirements on all business establishments and places of public accommodation, that are newly constructed or contain a restroom that is being substantially renovated.
The legislation also includes a signage requirement as well as limited exceptions when installation of a diaper-changing accommodation is infeasible due to spatial or structural reasons or because installation will not comply with laws pertaining to access to persons with disabilities.
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