Illinois bill to require changing tables for most public bathrooms advances

By Cole Lauterbach, Illinois News Network

Businesses in Illinois that are open to the public may soon be required to have diaper changing tables available to both mom and dad.

State lawmakers are close to sending a bill to the governor’s desk.

“House Bill 3711 requires all public restrooms in a public building to have a baby changing facility that is physically safe, sanitary and usable for the purpose with certain exemptions and requires signage at or near the entrance to the baby changing station indicating the location,” said state Sen. Ram Villivalam, D-Chicago, in the Senate Public Health Committee this week.

The legislation would only apply to new construction and remodels where more than half of the facility is updated. The bill would exempt smaller businesses and those that prohibit people younger than 18 years old.

Commercial changing tables vary in price, ranging from just over $100 to more than $1,000. Those prices don’t include the cost of installation.

The sponsor of the bill says it’s a step toward making changing stations more accessible to all families across Illinois.

“I have often heard from parents that safe and sanitary spaces to change young children are not always readily available in public restrooms,” said state Rep. Delia Ramirez, D-Chicago. “I am proud to support this policy change to make the lives of parents of young children in our state a little easier.” 

State Sen. Dave Syverson, R-Rockford, raised concerns about whether small shops, like Subway, that have open areas, but don’t seat many people would have to comply.

“It’s not the same thing as a dining-in restaurant, but it looks like they may fall under this category,” he said.

So far, the bill has passed unanimously and now only needs a Senate floor vote before it could be sent to Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s desk.