State Representative Karl Van Roy is working on passing the WI Restroom Access Act and you can help!
In order to convince other legislators to co-sponsor this bill, we are asking that you contact your local representative and tell your story to let them know that this Bill is important to their constituents and that it matters to a large number of people.
You can call, write, or email your State Senator
and your State Representative. When contacting your legislators, you should:
1) Provide their name and legal voting address
2) State their support for LRB 3518, also known as the
Restroom Access Act
3) Provide a short personal statement of why this bill is
important to them, or a family member, or a friend
4) Ask the legislator to co-sponsor the bill.
If you do not know who your legislators are or
how to contact them, you can:
1) go to http://www.legis.wisconsin.gov/w3asp/waml/waml.aspx.
2) type your address, the site will list your State Senator and your State Representative. It will provide a phone number, address, and
email contact information for both of them.
3) contact both by
whatever means you prefer.
View the Entire Bill
This letter circulated to the full legislature earlier this week.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease
(IBD), which includes Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, is a chronic
disorder that causes inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract. IBD symptoms
come on suddenly and urgently and include severe abdominal pain and diarrhea.
Individuals experiencing symptoms need access to the most conveniently located
bathrooms without delay. LRB 3518/2 gives people who have IBD or use an ostomy
device the right to obtain legal access to the employee-only toilets in retail
establishments under certain conditions when public restrooms are not readily
available. This is similar to "Ally’s Law" which went into effect in Illinois in
constituent who has Crohn’s disease brought to our attention the story of
teenager Ally Bain, a fellow Crohn’s sufferer in Illinois. At the age of 14,
Ally was shopping at a national retail clothing store with her mother when her
Crohn's disease suddenly flared up and she had to use the restroom immediately.
They asked an employee and then a manager for permission to use the
employee-only restroom, but she was refused by both of them because of what they
called, "store policy." As a result, Ally suffered a humiliating accident right
there in the store. Ally and her mother vowed to make sure that this situation
never happened again to her or anyone else suffering from
Ally and her mother worked with their state
legislator and got Restroom Access Act legislation passed in Illinois in
2005. Under LRB 3518/2 which is based on "Ally's Law", retail establishments
with at least three employees on duty must provide access to employee-only
restrooms to those individuals who have Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis or
use an ostomy device when a public restroom is not readily available. The
individuals would need to present an official doctor’s note or approved
identification card showing they have an eligible medical condition in order to
obtain access to the employee restroom thus preventing just anyone from gaining
access to the restroom. Businesses do not have to make any alterations to their
facilities to accommodate these individuals, and businesses are protected from
liability if someone accessing the employee-only restroom would get hurt.
Businesses do not have to allow access if it creates an obvious health or safety
risk to the person or an obvious security risk to the business. Failure to allow
access to an eligible person would result in a forfeiture.
Ally would like to see Restroom Access
legislation passed in all 50 states. In addition to her home state
of Illinois, similar Restroom Access laws have been approved in Minnesota,
Michigan, Texas, Tennessee, Colorado, Kentucky, Washington, and
Connecticut. Bills also have been proposed in Delaware, Florida, Massachusetts,
Ohio, New York, New Jersey, Georgia, Missouri, Virginia, New Mexico, Oklahoma,
Wyoming, South Carolina, Rhode Island, Indiana, and Pennsylvania.
people who have IBD shy away from going out in public and become reclusive in
their own homes for fear of not finding a restroom when they need it and having
an embarrassing or humiliating accident. This bill gives IBD sufferers the
freedom to go out in public again. Local businesses will benefit because these
individuals will now venture outside and shop in hometown stores rather than buy
over the internet.
According to the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation
of America, 1.4 million people nationwide suffer from Crohn's disease or
ulcerative colitis, of which it is estimated 20,000 live in Wisconsin. At least
10% of sufferers are under the age of 18. Wisconsin has the highest incidence
rate of pediatric Crohn's Disease in the world.