House bill would eliminate multi-stall unisex bathrooms

Published 4:14 pm Saturday, March 26, 2016

Minnesota House Republicans unveiled a bill Wednesday that would require transgender people to use bathrooms and locker rooms corresponding to their gender at birth.

The proposal would apply to both public spaces, including schools, and private employers.

A local representative said she supports the bill that would eliminate multi-stall unisex bathrooms.

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District 27A Rep. Peggy Bennett, R-Albert Lea, said she wants the bill to come before committee so the issue can be exposed to different points of view and enhance good discussion.

Bennett said the bill is a sensitive and difficult issue that ignites passion on both sides. It addresses a physical and privacy issue for women and children, and she wants to see a solution that benefits everyone.

She said is aware of an incident where a man exposed himself to women in a unisex locker room, along with other violations across the country.

“Everyone deserves privacy,” Bennett said.

She said the bill does not address single-stall unisex bathrooms and locker rooms and noted she is not sure if the bill is going to receive a hearing.

The bill’s sponsor, District 18B Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen, R-Glencoe, said it is meant to ensure the privacy and safety of residents worried about people who were born members of the opposite sex who are using the same facilities.

Albert Lean Gary Schindler, a DFL candidate for District 27A representative, said with this year’s shortened legislative session, the Legislature should focus on more important issues, such as passing a tax bill and expanding broadband Internet access that he said will positively benefit Greater Minnesotans.

— The Associated Press contributed to this report.


About Sam Wilmes

Sam Wilmes covers crime, courts and government for the Albert Lea Tribune.

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