Councilmember Nadeau Introduces the "Equal Access to Changing Tables Amendment Act of 2022"
February 15, 2022
Today, along with my colleagues Janeese Lewis George, Christina Henderson, Robert White, Charles Allen, and Mary Cheh, I am introducing the Equal Access to Changing Tables Amendment Act of 2022.
There are many public spaces across the District, including government buildings, that lack diaper changing accommodations. And, when those accommodations are available, they are generally only found in women’s restrooms. As a result, caregivers who need to change a diaper, but who cannot use a women’s restroom, are forced to find alternatives. They might up changing their baby’s diaper on unsanitary surfaces like filthy restroom floors and the cramped bathroom counterspace near which other patrons are washing their hands. This can pose a health and safety risk for caregivers, infants, and the patrons sharing spaces with them. What’s more, many same-sex couples are shut of safe, sanitary areas in which to change their children’s diapers entirely.
This legislation ameliorates the lack of access to changing tables in the District by requiring all newly constructed or substantially renovated government buildings and business establishments with at least one toilet facility open to the public to provide, on each floor with public restrooms, one of the following:
At least one diaper-changing accommodation that is available for use by women and at least one that is available for use by men;
At least one diaper-changing accommodation that is available for use in a gender-neutral toilet facility; or
At least one diaper-changing accommodation in a private room, space, or area that is available for use by all genders.
This bill was designed to meet the needs of all District stakeholders, from restaurants just getting by with little room to install changing tables, to residents with disabilities who need to be able to navigate the spaces we all share. Accordingly, it carves out exemptions from the changing station requirement for nightclubs, businesses that do not serve very young children, and situations wherein compliance would restrict access to restrooms for people with disabilities or prove infeasible due to spatial or structural limitations.
This legislation, then, makes the District more humane, more livable, and more equitable at little cost to anyone other than the $150 it costs to install a changing table. I look forward to working with Council colleagues to advance this measure and to make our community a healthier, fairer place for all families.
Full text of the bill is below.