Miller unveils bill that would require state-owned buildings to install adult changing stations
HARRISBURG, Sept. 23 – Building off the forward progress the commonwealth and the Americans with Disabilities Act have enacted for those with disabilities, state Rep. Dan Miller, D-Allegheny, unveiled his plan to require state-owned buildings and certain places of public accommodations to install and maintain at least one adult changing station.
The legislation (H.B. 117) was discussed at a Monday Capitol news conference. State Sens. Pam Iovino, D-Allegheny/Washington, and Camera Bartolotta, R-Beaver/Greene/Washington, also were in attendance. Both senators have introduced companion legislation to H.B. 117.
Miller said the measure would mandate state buildings and places of public accommodation – like auditoriums, convention centers, sports arenas and amusement parks – with a maximum occupancy of 2,000 or more people to install and maintain at least one adult changing station, which, under his bill, would consist of an adult changing table placed within an enclosed restroom facility.
“Change has been made but we’re far from the finish line,” Miller said. “Far too many individuals with disabilities avoid attending public functions due to their inability to find access to restrooms that accommodate their needs. House Bill 117 looks to change that scenario because everyone deserves to live life to the fullest, no matter the obstacles that stand before them.”
Both Iovino and Bartolotta also spoke at Monday’s news conference, echoing Miller’s remarks.
“Families of those with disabilities should not be forced to choose between caring for their loved ones in a place that lacks privacy and hygiene, or simply forgoing the things that make life worth living, like road trips, or baseball games, or any number of activities that last multiple hours,” Iovino said. “No one should feel like facilities open to the public are not truly open to them and their needs. To address this, our legislation expands the availability of adult changing stations across Pennsylvania – starting with state-owned buildings such as civic centers or highway rest stops, and large-capacity venues like stadiums and theaters.”
Bartolotta added: “The lack of access to adult changing tables makes it more difficult for individuals with physical disabilities to access many public spaces. Our proposals will require state-owned buildings, including civic buildings and highway rest stops, to include adult changing tables in an effort to create fully accessible spaces for all members of society. It’s time we take steps to provide these individuals, families and caregivers a small, yet extremely convenient means to care for their loved ones."
In 2015, California enacted legislation to require commercial places of public amusement to install and maintain an adult changing station, Miller said. Ohio, New Hampshire and Georgia have since introduced similar legislation.
House Bill 117 is expected to be considered by the full House in the near future.