It’s New York’s Turn to Pass the Restroom Access Act

March 21, 2013 at 9:01 pm 3 comments

Last year, Massachusetts became the 13th state to enact the Restroom Access Act, joining the ranks of Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, Wisconsin and Washington. As I wrote previously, the Restroom Access Act requires retail establishments to allow  people with certain medical conditions (including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis) access to their employee only restrooms if a public one isn’t available.

Several other states are starting to look at enacting the Restroom Access Act, including New York. It’s about time!

The New York bill was introduced by Assemblywoman Amy Paulin and referred to the Assembly Health Committee. Unfortunately, it hasn’t made any movement in that committee since it was referred there in February.

The other unfortunate thing about this bill is that there is no Senate companion version. For those who are not so familiar with the legislative process, bills are generally proposed in both legislative houses and then a compromise bill that combines the ones from both houses is what eventually gets enacted into law.

Two things to happen to move the Restroom Access Act forward in New York:

  1. We need a Senate bill introduced.
  2. We need the bill to be heard in the committee and moved to the Assembly floor for a vote.

So here’s what all of you IBD-ers out there can do:

  • Contact your Assembly Member (if you live in NY) and tell them to support the Restroom Access Act (Bill # 5099) and that they should sign on as a cosponsor.
  • Contact your State Senator (if you live in NY) and ask them to introduce the Restroom Access Act in the State Senate.

If you don’t live in NY, you can still help by contacting the chairs of the Assembly Health and Senate Health Committees and tell them you support the Restroom Access Act and want to see it passed into law in NY.

I’ll post updates on the blog as I hear news about the bill’s progress.

UPDATE: I drafted some sample letters you can use to send to legislators. One targets on NY Assembly Members and the other, NY Senators. Feel free to use them, edit them and pass along:

Letter to Assembly Members

Letter to Senators

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