The City of West Hollywood released a statement applauding the California StateGE Legislature for passing Senator Ben Allen’s Senate Bill 1194 Public Restrooms: Building Standards, which would allow for multi-stall gender-neutral bathrooms in cities that choose to pass such an ordinance.
“Today is an incredible, historic day!” said City of West Hollywood Mayor Pro Tempore Sepi Shyne. “I was proud to co-sponsor the City of West Hollywood Multi-Stall Gender Neutral Bathroom Ordinance, which made us the first city in the United States to move to require equity and safety in bathroom access for people with disabilities who have opposite sex caretakers, our transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming siblings, and same sex and single parents of opposite sex children. I worked with Senator Ben Allen and his staff, my colleague Councilmember John M. Erickson, and our City legislative staff to help shepherd SB 1194 through the legislature. California is now the first state in the nation to give cities local control to make the same choice West Hollywood did.”
“SB 1194 highlights the critical work being done by the City of West Hollywood to further our commitment not only to the LGBTQ community, but also to people with disabilities, and those with opposite sex children all wanting to make it easier to utilize restroom facilities,” said City of West Hollywood Councilmember John M. Erickson. “SB 1194 is a common-sense bill that empowers local municipalities with the ability to opt-in to create gender-neutral bathrooms and it empowers businesses to further their commitment to creating open and safe spaces for all. I’m extremely grateful to Senator Ben Allen for authoring this important legislation, the co-authors and supporting organizations, and proud to have brought this item forward initially here in West Hollywood along with my colleague, Mayor Pro Tempore Sepi Shyne.”
In 2014, the City of West Hollywood was the first city in California to require that single-stall restrooms be designated gender-neutral/all gender. In 2016, the California State Legislature followed suit approving Assembly Bill (AB) 1732. On May 3, 2021, the City Council of the City of West Hollywood approved an item to direct staff to prepare an ordinance requiring that newly built places of public accommodation and those that undergo substantial renovations incorporate multi-stall gender-neutral bathrooms.
As City of West Hollywood staff worked to prepare the Ordinance to bring it to the West Hollywood City Council for consideration, it was discovered that the California Building Code did not allow for such construction. To address this issue, it was determined that legislation was necessary to amend the current governing codes so that cities that would like to require that bathrooms include gender neutral stalls may do so.
On February 17, 2022, Senator Ben Allen (D-Santa Monica) introduced SB 1194. On Tuesday, August 30, 2022, the California State Senate approved the bill in a 70-0 vote, following its passage in the California State Assembly on Monday, August 29, 2022 in a 54-0 vote. Governor Newsom is expected to sign the bill into law allowing cities to adopt the new regulations for multi-stall gender-neutral bathrooms by adopting ordinances. In addition, and to afford additional discretion to communities, cities can exclude certain occupancies from the bill’s requirements. The full text of the bill can be found on the State of California Legislative Information website.
The City of West Hollywood and City of Santa Monica were Lead Sponsors of Senate Bill 1194 Public Restrooms: Building Standards (SB 1194 – Allen); Equality California, the Los Angeles LGBT Center, and The TransLatin@ Coalition were Sponsors; and ACLU California Action and Disability Rights California supported the Bill.