Bathroom bill would allow customers access to employee restrooms

A state Senate committee approved legislation Monday that would require businesses to allow customers with medical conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome or Crohn’s disease to access employee restrooms if a public restroom is not available.

Senate Bill 137, authored by Sen. Vaneta Becker, R-Evansville, passed the Civil Law Committee with a 7-0 vote.

Phil Bounsall, president of Walker Information and the Indiana chapter of the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation, and Brandi Greenleaf Barnes, executive director of the Indiana chapter of the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation, both testified in favor of the bill and described the emotional impact on the children and adults who might have accidents in public locations.

They noted that 30,000-plus Hoosiers suffer through Crohn’s, IBD and colitis. The legislation, if passed, would relieve the stress of those with the diseases who might need access to a bathroom.

Bounsall told the committee that there would be no burden to businesses because they would not be changing their restrooms.

The bill goes back to the full Senate for further action.

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