House votes to require equal number of toilets
The "potty parity" bill, which requires an equal number of men's and women's toilets in new public places accommodating more than 100 people, got overwhelming final approval from the House of Delegates yesterday.
Sponsored by Del. Sheila E. Hixson, D-Montgomery, the measure would require builders of large public facilities to provide as many toilets for women as there are toilets and urinals combined for men.
"This is an easy bill to joke about, but it's not a joking matter," said Del. Casper R. Taylor Jr., chairman of Economic Matters Committee, which sent the bill to the full House.
Responding to criticism that the bill doesn't cover existing buildings, Mr. Taylor said, "We're taking a major step here by applying this formula to new buildings."
Mr. Taylor, D-Washington, added that the committee did not want to cover additions and renovations because there might not be enough space to expand women's restroom facilities to comply with the law. Twelve states have potty parity laws, and all cover only new buildings, he said.
The measure, which passed 126-1, now goes to the Senate, which has rejected a similar proposal in each of the last two years.
Anti-discrimination bill dies in Senate panel
A measure to protect gay men and lesbians from discrimination died yesterday in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee.
With no debate, the committee voted 6-4 against the bill sponsored by Sen. Janice Piccinini, D-Baltimore County.
Maryland law bans discrimination on the basis of race, color, gender, age, national origin, marital status, and physical or mental disabilities. The bill would have added to the list sexual orientation -- defined as heterosexuality, homosexuality and bisexuality.
Voting for the bill were Ms. Piccinini and Sens. Howard A. Denis, R-Montgomery; Ralph M. Hughes, D-Baltimore; and Mary H. Boergers, D-Montgomery.
Those opposed were John A. Pica, D-Baltimore; Philip C. Jimeno, D-Anne Arundel; Larry E. Haines, R-Carroll; Habern Freeman, D-Harford; Norman R. Stone Jr., D-Baltimore County, and Chairman Walter M. Baker, D-Cecil.