SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – All people who care for young children, regardless of that person’s gender, will have equitable access to baby changing facilities under bipartisan legislation supported by state Rep. Karina Villa, D-West Chicago, which recently passed the Illinois House.
“We all know that moms generally aren’t the only people caring for a baby. However, many buildings only having changing stations located in women’s restrooms,” Villa said. “This standard is antiquated. It shouldn’t be difficult for fathers, grandparents and babysitters to find clean, appropriate places to change diapers in public.”
Villa is a cosponsor of House Bill 3711, which would require all state-owned buildings, retail stores and restaurants to have diaper changing facilities in restrooms for men and women. There are exemptions in certain cases for small businesses, as well as in buildings where the installation of a changing station would interfere with access for people with disabilities. Industrial buildings and bars would also be exempt. This legislation builds upon standards established by a 2016 federal law requiring United States government buildings to have changing stations available in men’s restrooms.
“Little ones deserve safe, sanitary places to be cared for, regardless of if they’re with mom, dad or someone else,” Villa said. “Most women are not solely responsible for raising a child, so it shouldn’t be assumed that only women need this space. I’m looking forward to seeing Illinois businesses and government buildings take this necessary step forward to accommodate all people.”