Bill introduced to require adult changing tables in public restrooms
LANSING, Mich. (WNEM) - Liam’s Law was re-introduced to the State House of Representatives on Wednesday, May 24.
If approved, the bill would require most establishments with public restrooms to install at least one universally accessible adult changing table.
“Under current regulations set for the Americans with Disabilities Act, accessible restrooms for individuals with disabilities are only required to accommodate the space needed for a wheelchair user to maneuver in order to access a restroom,” said Michigan Rep. Lori Stone.
However, disabilities go beyond wheelchairs, which is why Liam’s Law was re-introduced to the State House.
Liam’s Law was first introduced in 2020, named after Liam, an 8-year-old who is nonverbal.
“By promoting inclusion, access, and equity for all individuals by requiring the installation of universal adult size, height-adjustable, fully automated, changing tables,” Stone said.
Liam was born with several rare life-altering conditions that impact his daily life and his family’s.
“While Liam is 8-years-old on paper, his cognitive level of understanding is of about an 18-month-old,” said Liam’s mother, Jessica Gomez. “You can probably imagine, raising Liam is a little different than most kiddos. Now, different doesn’t necessarily mean bad or anything negative like that, but it does have its own set of challenges.”
Those challenges will have Liam in diapers for the rest of his life due to his inability to learn proper potty training. Gomez, a Bay City native, said the lack of adequate changing areas in public has led them to stop going out altogether and prevents them from enjoying normal family activities.
“For example, if we wanted to take – we just recently took our one kindergartner to Bluey Live – if we wanted to take Liam too, we don’t have that because we don’t have that accessibility to change him if we have to during the middle of a performance or something as other parents would have that accessibility already,” Gomez explained.
Though this is the third time the bill has been introduced, Gomez said she hopes this one is the charm.
“It is very disheartening to have to convince people that you and your family are worthy enough to deserve this basic thing that everyone else has access to already,” Gomez said.
Liam’s family said very few, if any, public restrooms include a changing table or area suitable for someone over the age of 3.
“We have resolved to seek changes so that our son, and millions of others like him, will never have to go through the humiliation, the shame, and the undignified experience of being changed on a wet, dirty, and unhygienic restroom floor ever again,” Liam’s family said.
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services launched a grant program to assist venues in installing these changing tables in 2022.
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