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WI State CapitalState 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 BillWI Restroom Access Act

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 September 2005. 


A 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 IBD.  

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.

Most 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.

Need help?

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Contact our Information Resource Center: 888.694.8872 or www.ccfa.org. For tips, sharing, and support from other people with Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis, join our free CCFA Community site.


Our mission

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To cure Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, and to improve the quality of life of children and adults affected by these diseases.


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