PHOENIX, State Capitol – Adult and adolescent members of the disability community – and their parents and caregivers – could soon have more dignified and sanitary options than dirty public bathroom floors to change diapers when out in the community.
A bill championed (and originally sponsored) by Rep. Richard Andrade, D-Phoenix, to require the state to install at least one adult changing station in new or refurbished buildings gained final passage on Wednesday and is headed to Gov. Ducey's desk. In the end, House Bill 2113 passed overwhelmingly 56-2-2, but it had to overcome many obstacles along the way.
Members of the disability community approached Andrade prior to the session with shocking stories of their struggles to find adequate and private areas to change adult diapers when out in public. Andrade then sponsored House Bill 2529 and shepherded it through committee with strong bi-partisan support. But House Rules Chairman Anthony Kern chose to hold the bill, preventing a floor vote. The idea appeared dead, but Republican Rep. Gail Griffin stepped in and allowed the language to be attached to a bill of hers in the Senate, HB2113, with a strike-all amendment.
During his vote explanation, Andrade expressed gratitude to Griffin on behalf of the group Dignified Changes and their loved ones who first approached him, and who rallied at the Capitol when his bill hit its snag.
“This started with an email from a frustrated father to three advocates from Dignified Changes who then brought forward this issue of changing loved ones with disabilities on dirty restroom floors, out in the public, or in a vehicle," Andrade said. "Passing this bill brings dignity, respect and privacy to our family members and especially our family members with disabilities."
"The passing of bi-partisan legislation, like our bill, proves there is hope for our community in regard to protecting basic human rights. Our bill aimed to ensure that privacy and dignity can be afforded to all individuals using a restroom. For individuals like my daughter, and so many others in our community, they deserve to be changed in a dignified way. Today is a day I will remember forever, as it marks a significant milestone for Arizona and its citizens. Our state will be on the right side of history and will serve as an exemplar in our Union to affording safe and accessible changing places for all. This bill was made possible by the significant efforts of many," said Nicole Anderson, cofounder of Dignified Changes.
Find HB2113 online using this link: https://apps.azleg.gov/BillStatus/GetDocumentPdf/469672
From left to right, Dignified Changes cofounder Marianne Scott, her daughter Macyee, and Representative Richard Andrade at an earlier event this session at the Capitol.