LANSING, Mich. (WJMN) – A Michigan State Representative has reintroduced a law that would require adult-sized changing tables in most public bathrooms.
Back in January 2020, State Representative Lori Stone (D-Warren) introduced Liam’s Law to modernize restroom accommodations for individuals with disabilities. And last week, Stone reintroduced House Bill 4720 to the Michigan Legislature.
“It would expand access for restrooms by requiring the inclusion of height-adjustable, universal changing tables,” said Stone. “And this idea was brought to me by a mother of a young man Liam who is autistic and he has developmental delays and needs assistance when using the restroom.”
The proposed law would require the installation of at least one universally accessible adult changing table in most establishments with public restrooms:
• New builds on or after January 1, 2024 or old buildings undergoing renovations on or
after January 1, 2025 that require a permit or will cost $10,000 or more including:
- Establishments with the capacity to serve 1,500 or more persons per day,
including but not limited to, any state building, facility, or structure
- Places of exhibition or entertainment, including movie theaters, theaters,
concert halls, convention centers, shopping malls, or stores of at least 40,000 square
- Places of public display or collection, including museums, libraries, and
- Places of recreation, including parks, zoos, and amusement parks
- Bus stations
- Interstate rest stops
- Places of education
- Rehabilitation centers
“We expect most people to learn toileting and won’t need that, but we know that there are over two million people in Michigan who have disabilities and over one million who have some kind of mobility disability and so this is a significant portion of our population,” said Stone. “So this equipment would allow individuals and caregivers who need to provide assistance in changing briefs or diapering for those anyone who are over 40 pounds, 40 to 400 pounds.”
Stone said she recognizes that some businesses might oppose the bill due to the costly price (ranging from $5,000 to $10,000). However, she believes it could improve the economy with this type of inclusion.
“This is going to expand who you can serve as a facility. This expands field trips, and it also expands tourism for those families, because families of individuals with disabilities, they’re limited on where they can go to have recreation, have fun, go on a trip. They have to think every step of the way to plan where they can have access. This will go a long way of including and increasing economics.”
Sarah Peurakoski, executive director of Superior Alliance of Independent Living (SAIL), said that this bill could also benefit the Upper Peninsula if there was more access for those with disabilities.
“I know that people in the U.P. may not realize how many people live with a disability, but it’s also the tourists that come through the U.P. and that come up for camping and things like that. And we want to make things inviting and accessible for those that want to experience the Upper Peninsula,” said Peurakoski.
SAIL offers an Access4All program that can help provide businesses with ways to make their establishment more accessible.
“We actually get volunteers who are people that live with disabilities to do the site visits and do the suggestions. So it’s really a person-centered plan kind of idea that we’re helping those businesses by listening to people who live with a disability.”
If you would like to learn more about Access4All program, you can visit SAIL’s website. SAIL is also looking for volunteers to be apart of the program.
State Representative Stone is currently waiting for a hearing on Liam’s Law from the Health Policy Committee.