Senator ANTHONY R. BUCCO
District 25 (Morris and Somerset)
Requires installation of baby-changing stations in certain public restrooms.
CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT
An Act concerning public restrooms and supplementing Title 26 of the Revised Statutes.
Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
1. a. As used in this section:
“Place of public accommodation” means any of the following, whether publicly or privately owned or operated on a for-profit or nonprofit basis, and which are generally accessible to the public with a maximum occupancy of more than 25 people: a commercial or other office building; an office or building owned, leased, or rented by the State or by a political subdivision of the State; restaurant; public library; museum or art gallery; theater or concert hall; stadium or other facility used for the holding of sporting events; shopping mall or retail store; health care facility licensed pursuant to P.L.1971, c.136 (C.26:2H-1 et seq.); park or playground; or public transportation facility. A “place of public accommodation” shall not include any premises to which a child under three years of age is not permitted or authorized to have access.
"Substantial renovation" means a construction or renovation project requiring a building permit and where the value of the renovation to the restroom exceeds $5,000.
b. Any place of public accommodation that maintains public restrooms shall include a counter or table that is designed as a baby diaper-changing station in at least one of its public restrooms for men and for women, respectively, or in a dedicated unisex family restroom. The requirement shall apply only under the following circumstances:
(1) When there is construction of a new restroom.
(2) When there is substantial renovation of a restroom.
c. No later than 60 days after the effective date of P.L. , c. (C. ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), any place of public accommodation that maintains women's restrooms equipped with a baby diaper-changing station shall maintain an equal number of men's restrooms equipped with a baby diaper-changing station.
d. The owner or operator of a place of public accommodation who violates the provisions of this section shall be guilty of a petty disorderly persons offense and shall be fined not more than $500 for each violation. A municipal court shall have jurisdiction over proceedings to enforce and collect any penalty imposed because of a violation of this section if the violation has occurred within the territorial jurisdiction of the court. The proceedings shall be summary and in accordance with the "Penalty Enforcement Law of 1999," P.L.1999, c.274 (C.2A:58-10 et seq.). Process shall be in the nature of a summons or warrant and shall issue only at the suit of the Commissioner of Health, or the local board of health, as the case may be, as plaintiff.
e. The Department of Health or the local board of health or the board, body, or officers exercising the functions of the local board of health according to law, upon written complaint or having reason to suspect that a place of public accommodation is or may be in violation of the provisions of this section, shall, by written notification, advise the person having control of the place of public accommodation accordingly and order appropriate action to be taken.
f. A penalty recovered under the provisions of this section shall be recovered by and in the name of the Commissioner of Health or by and in the name of the local board of health. When the plaintiff is the Commissioner of Health, the commissioner shall pay the penalty recovered into the treasury of the State. When the plaintiff is a local board of health, the local board shall pay the penalty recovered into the treasury of the municipality where the violation occurred.
2. The Commissioner of Health, pursuant to the "Administrative Procedure Act," P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.), shall adopt rules and regulations to effectuate the purposes of this act.
3. This act shall take effect on the first day of the seventh month next following enactment, but the Commissioner of Health may take such anticipatory administrative action in advance thereof as shall be necessary for the implementation of the act.
This bill would require baby diaper-changing stations in any newly constructed men or women's public restroom maintained in places of public accommodation within the State. It would also require public accommodation changing stations during renovations to existing restrooms, costing $5,000 or more. The bill would further require a changing station in the men’s restrooms if one is already included in the women’s restrooms. The bill applies to places of public accommodation with a maximum occupancy level greater than 25 people and places that permit children over three years-old to access. Failure to comply with the provisions of this bill constitutes a petty disorderly persons offense with a maximum fine of $500. Under this bill, the Department of Health and local boards of health have the authority to commence proceedings in municipal court to enforce the provisions of this bill.
This bill will ensure that parents of small children have greater access to changing tables in public restrooms. As the typical structure of families within this State evolves, men are becoming more involved in the care of young children. According to a recent government study about 90 percent of fathers who live with their children report that they bathe, diaper, or dress their children everyday or several days a week. The study further noted that fathers are more involved in their children's lives than in previous generations. No current State law requires places of public accommodation to equip public restrooms with changing stations, and the ones that do so voluntarily tend to only offer the accommodation in women's restrooms. This bill will correct that imbalance and provide greater access to changing stations for both men and women.