May 14, 2021

Senator Haskell Applauds Senate for Approving Equal Access to Childcare Facilities in Public Buildings

Today, State Senator Will Haskell (D-Westport) applauded the State Senate for passing legislation that will provide equitable access to diaper changing stations in public buildings. Under the legislation, newly constructed or substantially renovated public buildings that include a diaper changing table in the women’s room must also do so in the men’s room. This will provide more parents with equitable access to these important facilities.

“This bill is a reflection of the fact that parenting in the 21st century is becoming equitable,” said Sen. Haskell. “Plus, same-sex couples often find themselves in a bind when it’s time to change their child’s diaper. I know my brother and his husband were frequently frustrated that so many public buildings only provide these tables in women’s restrooms. This bill provides a simple fix: if you’re putting a changing table in the women’s room, put one in the men’s room.”

Senate Bill 121, “An Act Concerning Access To Diaper Changing Stations In Public Buildings,” would revise state building codes, requiring newly constructed or substantially renovated public buildings as of January 1, 2022 to have at least one public restroom offering safe, sanitary and convenient diaper changing tables. Such buildings would be required to have either at least two such changing tables, one for women and one for men, per floor open to the public or at least one accessible to both men and women per floor open to the public.

Federal law already requires public restrooms in federal buildings to have safe and sanitary baby changing facilities.

In public testimony, the ACLU of Connecticut strongly encouraged support of the legislation as it highlights our core belief that parents and caregivers should have the same opportunities to care for children regardless of gender. “This bill ensures that all people, regardless of the restrooms they use, will have the ability to care for and clean a child in their care in a safe and hygienic environment,” specifically citing the improvements such legislation provides for single fathers, same-sex male parents and other male caregivers, who today know it is unlikely they will have hygienic access to diaper changing. Additionally, the ACLU said, the legislation encourages equal parenting; mothers in heterosexual relationships are already responsible for a disproportionate share of parenting responsibilities. “Connecticut would be empowering male caregivers as valid caretakers of children, while simultaneously easing the still-lopsided burden on female caregivers,” the ACLU said.

The legislation previously passed the Public Safety and Security Committee by a unanimous vote. It now proceeds to the House.