Provides restroom access to persons with certain medical conditions; defines the term eligible medical condition.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the public health law, in relation to enacting the restroom access act
PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: To make toilet facilities that are for employee use only, in places of business open to the general public, accessible to those who have an eligible medical condition such as Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, or other medical conditions that require immediate access to a bathroom.
SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS: Section one provides that this act shall be known and may be cited as "The Restroom Access Act."
Section two amends the public health law by adding a new article 19. Section 1900 of article nineteen provides the definition for "eligible medical condition." Section 1901 of article nineteen provides that a place of business that is open to the general public and has a toilet facility for its employees shall allow a person who is lawfully on the premises during normal business hours access to the employee toilet facility as long as the person requesting use of the employee toilet has an eligible medical condition or utilizes an ostomy device, provided that the place of business may require the individual to present reasonable evidence that he or she has an eligible medical condition or uses an ostomy device; two or more employees of the place of business are working at the time the individual requests use of the employee toilet facility; the place of business does not normally make the employee toilet facility available to the public; the employee toilet facility is located in an area where there would be no obvious health, safety or security risk; and a public restroom is not immediately accessible to the requesting person. Section 1902 of article nineteen provides that a place of business open to the public for the sale of goods or services is not required to make physical changes to its employee toilet facility.
Section three provides the effective date.
JUSTIFICATION: Increasing numbers of people are being diagnosed with inflammatory bowel diseases. It is estimated that over 600,000 Americans Suffer from Crohn's disease alone, which is an ongoing disorder of the gastrointestinal tract. It causes swelling of the intestines, creating pain and diarrhea. People who suffer from such diseases often need urgent and sudden access to a toilet facility.
In Illinois, a teenaged girl named Ally Sain, who has Crohn's disease, had a humiliating incident in public when she was denied access to an employee-only restroom. She was, bravely, instrumental in the passage of Illinois's Restroom Access Act, also known as Ally's Law. In addition to Illinois, eleven other states have passed the Restroom Access Act: Texas, Wisconsin, Connecticut, Minnesota, Michigan, Washington, Tennessee, Colorado, Ohio, Kentucky, and Oregon. Legislation is currently pending in several other states.
This legislation creates a compassionate system for those who suffer from gastrointestinal diseases by making it possible for those who have an eligible medical condition, as defined in the bill, to have access to an employee-only toilet facility in a place of business that is already open to the public when there are at least two employees working at the time of the request, and using that facility would not create a health, safety, or security risk.
This legislation would not create any additional cost to businesses as they are not required to alter their toilet facility. Also, a business would not be required to provide access to their toilet facility when another facility is immediately accessible to the requesting person.
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: A.807, 2009 and 2010 referred to health. A.10058, 2008 referred to health. Same as S.7138, 2008 referred to health
FISCAL IMPLICATION: None.
EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect on the one hundred twentieth day after it shall become law, provided that the addition, amendment and/or repeal of any rule or regulation necessary for the implementation of this act on its effective date are authorized and directed to be made and completed on or before such effective date.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 7153 IN SENATE May 1, 2012 ___________Introduced by Sen. McDONALD -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Health AN ACT to amend the public health law, in relation to enacting the rest- room access act THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. This act shall be known and may be cited as the "restroom access act". S 2. The public health law is amended by adding a new article 19 to read as follows: ARTICLE 19 RESTROOM ACCESS ACT SECTION 1900. DEFINITION. 1901. ACCESS TO RESTROOM FACILITIES. 1902. REQUIRED CHANGES. S 1900. DEFINITION. AS USED IN THIS ARTICLE, "ELIGIBLE MEDICAL CONDI- TION" MEANS CROHN'S DISEASE, ULCERATIVE COLITIS, ANY OTHER INFLAMMATORY BOWEL DISEASE, IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME OR ANY OTHER MEDICAL CONDITION THAT REQUIRES IMMEDIATE ACCESS TO A TOILET FACILITY. S 1901. ACCESS TO RESTROOM FACILITIES. A PLACE OF BUSINESS OPEN TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC FOR THE SALE OF GOODS OR SERVICES THAT HAS A TOILET FACILITY FOR ITS EMPLOYEES SHALL ALLOW ANY INDIVIDUAL WHO IS LAWFULLY ON THE PREMISES OF SUCH PLACE OF BUSINESS TO USE THAT TOILET FACILITY DURING NORMAL BUSINESS HOURS, EVEN IF THE PLACE OF BUSINESS DOES NOT NORMALLY MAKE THE EMPLOYEE TOILET FACILITY AVAILABLE TO THE PUBLIC, PROVIDED THAT ALL OF THE FOLLOWING CONDITIONS ARE MET: 1. THE INDIVIDUAL REQUESTING THE USE OF THE EMPLOYEE TOILET FACILITY HAS AN ELIGIBLE MEDICAL CONDITION OR UTILIZES AN OSTOMY DEVICE, PROVIDED THAT THE PLACE OF BUSINESS MAY REQUIRE THE INDIVIDUAL TO PRESENT REASON- ABLE EVIDENCE THAT THE INDIVIDUAL HAS AN ELIGIBLE MEDICAL CONDITION OR USES AN OSTOMY DEVICE;EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD00904-05-2 S. 7153 2
2. TWO OR MORE EMPLOYEES OF THE PLACE OF BUSINESS ARE WORKING AT THE TIME THE INDIVIDUAL REQUESTS USE OF THE EMPLOYEE TOILET FACILITY; 3. THE EMPLOYEE TOILET FACILITY IS NOT LOCATED IN AN AREA WHERE PROVIDING ACCESS WOULD CREATE AN OBVIOUS HEALTH OR SAFETY RISK TO THE REQUESTING INDIVIDUAL OR CREATE AN OBVIOUS SECURITY RISK TO THE PLACE OF BUSINESS; AND 4. A PUBLIC RESTROOM IS NOT IMMEDIATELY ACCESSIBLE TO THE REQUESTING INDIVIDUAL. S 1902. REQUIRED CHANGES. NOTHING IN SECTION NINETEEN HUNDRED ONE OF THIS ARTICLE SHALL BE CONSTRUED AS REQUIRING A PLACE OF BUSINESS OPEN TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC FOR THE SALE OF GOODS OR SERVICES THAT HAS A TOILET FACILITY FOR ITS EMPLOYEES TO MAKE ANY PHYSICAL CHANGES TO AN EMPLOYEE TOILET FACILITY. S 3. This act shall take effect on the one hundred twentieth day after it shall become law, provided that effective immediately, the addition, amendment and/or repeal of any rule or regulation necessary for the implementation of this act on its effective date are authorized and directed to be made and completed on or before such effective date.