AB 1732, effective March 1st, 2017, enacted the most progressive statewide restroom access policy in the nation, requiring all single occupancy restrooms (rooms with a toilet and/or urinal and sink) in businesses, government buildings and places of public accommodation to be available to everyone regardless of gender or gender identity. The reasoning behind the bill was to promote fairness, and convenience for many people, including families, transgender and gender non-conforming people, and people with disabilities. In order to comply with the bill, all Employers must change restroom door signage to reflect equal access. A health inspection official would be authorized to check for compliance with this law during a health inspection.
While the law has been mainly associated as a solution to some of the issues transgender and non-binary individuals face when using public restrooms, the law is meant to address a variety of social issues. This bill not only helps resolve the safety concerns of transgender and gender non-conforming people, but promotes bathroom equity for everyone, regardless of gender, and provides better options for parents of different-gender children and people with disabilities who rely on caretakers of a different gender. Unrestricted restroom access is not a novel concept. Restrooms in homes and airplanes, for example, are not gender-specific. The same is true for portable restrooms, existing restrooms in many small businesses (such as small restaurants or coffee shops), and existing “family restrooms” in airports and other commercial locations. California lawmakers have recognized this, and believe that AB 1732 is a common sense solution for a variety of social issues