Lawmakers are again debating a bill that would require diaper changing tables to be installed in all bathrooms of new publicly accessible buildings.
“I’m excited to get back to the legislative office building and get back to work and part of that is handling a bunch of child care responsibilities,” Sen. Matt Lesser said.
But when Lesser brings his son to the Legislative Office Building or the state capitol, he’s going to have to find a safe place to change him because neither building has diaper changing tables in the men’s room.
There is a diaper changing table in the women’s room, but that doesn’t help the senator and new dad.
“It’s a problem for those of us who work at the capitol just as it is for people in other workplaces around the state,” Lesser said.
Senator Will Haskell proposed the legislation in 2019 because his brother and his husband were unable to change their two children in public.
“We understand that in the 21st century, parenting is a responsibility shared by both women and men and in same-sex couples," Haskell said.
He said they shouldn’t have to change their children on the bathroom floor, sink or even worse, waiting and not changing the diaper.
“This bill is incredibly modest. It says that if you’re going to build a new building and it’s going to be publicly accessible and you’re going to put a diaper changing table in the women's room, well then you should also put one in the men’s room,” Haskell said.
A federal law passed in 2016 requires diaper-changing tables in all federal building restrooms like courthouses and post offices.
“I don’t think there’s anything strange or shameful about having a young child and having a place that’s safe and accessible to change them is important,” Lesser said.
A similar bill passed the state Senate in 2019 with bipartisan support.
“Is it going to be anyone’s top priority in the upcoming session as we deal with a public health crisis and the worst recession since the great depression? Probably not,” Haskell said.
Lesser said he’s had to turn off his camera during public hearings to change his son's diaper.
“We’re working parents and we love our son and we want to make sure that we can live our lives and do so without having to put our kid in an unsanitary or weird place to change a diaper,” Lesser said.