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Restroom Access Act Killed by Subcommittee

January 22, 2013

By Allison Landry
Capital News Service

RICHMOND – A legislative panel has killed a bill designed to give Virginians suffering from Crohn’s disease or similar medical conditions immediate access to a toilet.

A subcommittee of the House Courts of Justice Committee shelved House Bill 1375, which would have required businesses to let people with certain bowel disorders use their employee restrooms in an emergency.

The so-called Restroom Access Act, sponsored by Delegate Rob Krupicka Jr., D-Alexandria, would have applied to business that do not have public toilet facilities. The bill exempted banks, filling stations and other retail establishments “where providing access would create an obvious security risk.”

Opponents feared the legislation might hurt businesses by opening them to lawsuits. They also raised concerns about security and intellectual property.

As originally written, the bill provided for a $100 penalty against retailers who refused to provide restroom access to eligible customers. Krupicka tried to address the concerns by reducing the fine to $25.

However, at a Monday afternoon meeting of the subcommittee, none of the members moved to approve the bill. It was unclear whether the proposal might come up again.

Several states, including Texas, Tennessee and Kentucky, have enacted similar restroom access laws for people with medical problems, Krupicka said.