"Bathroom Bill" Legislative Tracking

Joellen Kralik 10/24/2019

2017 State Legislation 

North Carolina remains the only state to pass—and now repeal— legislation (House Bill 2) restricting access to multiuser restrooms, locker rooms, and other sex-segregated facilities on the basis of a definition of sex or gender consistent with sex assigned at birth or “biological sex."

In the 2017 legislative session:

  • Sixteen states—Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New York, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington and Wyoming—have considered legislation that would restrict access to multiuser restrooms, locker rooms, and other sex-segregated facilities on the basis of a definition of sex or gender consistent with sex assigned at birth or “biological sex.” 
  • Six states—Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia—have considered legislation that would preempt municipal and county-level anti-discrimination laws. North Carolina is the only state to pass this type of legislation (HB 2 and then HB 142). Legislation is still pending in Missouri, South Carolina and Texas. 
  • Fourteen states—Arkansas, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia—have considered legislation that would limit transgender students' rights at school. The bills in New Jersey and Oklahoma are in response to withdrawn federal guidance issued in May 2016 regarding schools obligations to transgender students. 
2017 "Bathroom Bill" State Legislation
State Bill Number Disposition Summary
Alabama SB 1 Failed  Requires entities with restrooms, bathrooms, or changing facilities open to the public to choose one of the following options:
  • (1) Facilities designed to be used by one person at a time.
  • (2) Facilities designed to be used by multiple persons of the same gender.
  • (3) Facilities designed to be used by multiple persons at once, irrespective of their gender, that are staffed by an attendant stationed at the door of each rest room to monitor the appropriate use of the rest room and answer any questions or concerns posed by users.

Authorizes enforcement by any state or local law enforcement agency with jurisdiction, and outlines criminal and civil penalties for not complying with the law.  

Arkansas SB 346 Failed  This bill was introduced with the intention of legislating bathrooms based on gender, however, the language was never finalized. 
*Arkansas SB 774 Withdrawn from committee March 29, 2017 Requires government entities to designate all multiuser restrooms and changing facilities in government buildings for use for one sex only.  

 

Provides individuals with standing for civil action brought against government entities not complying with the law.

 

Defines government buildings as including state government buildings, local government buildings, and buildings run by public schools and public institutions of higher education.

 

Defines sex as determined by anatomy and genetics existing at the time of birth. Designates birth certificates as a reliable form of establishing a person’s sex.

Would not prevent private businesses from coming up with their own policies regarding bathroom use.

 

Prohibits local governments from considering private businesses’ bathroom policies when awarding grants or contracts. 

*Illinois HB 664 Failed Requires school boards to designate all student multiuser restrooms, changing rooms, and overnight facilities at schools or places used for school-sponsored activities for the use of students of only one sex.

Defines sex as the physical condition of being male or female, determined by chromosomes and assigned at birth.

Allows school boards to provide separate accommodations for transgender students who have parent permission. Alternative accommodations can include single user restrooms or access to faculty restrooms.

*Kansas  HB 2171 Failed Requires schools to designate all student multiuser restrooms, locker rooms, and shower rooms for the use of male students only or female students only.

Defines sex as the physical condition of being male or female, determined by chromosomes and assigned at birth.


Allows school officials to provide separate accommodations for students who have parental permission. Alternative accommodations shall not include multiuser facilities designated for students of  the other sex.

Alternative accommodations can include single user bathrooms, unisex bathrooms, or access to faculty restrooms.


Requires the state attorney general to investigate complaints filed describing schools in violation of this law.  

*Kansas SB 206 Failed Requires public schools to designate all student multiuser restrooms, locker rooms, and shower rooms for the use of male students only or female students only. 

 

Defines sex as being determined by anatomy and genetics existing at the time of birth. Offers a person's original birth certificate as definitive proof of sex. 

 

Allows school officials to provide separate accommodations for students who have parental permission. Alternative accommodations can include access to single-user restrooms, unisex restrooms used by one student at a time, or access to faculty facilities. 

 

Requires the attorney general to investigate complaints filed describing schools in violation of this law. 

*Kentucky HB 106 Failed—Adjourned Requires the executive branch of state government, school boards, cities, counties, urban-counties, and local governments to designate every multiuser bathroom or changing facility to only be used by persons based on their "biological sex."

 

Defines biological sex as the physical condition of being male or female as stated on a person's birth certificate.

*Kentucky HB 141 Failed—Adjourned Requires schools to designate all multiuser restrooms, locker rooms, shower facilities, and changing rooms for either male students only or female students only. Students are required to use restroom facilities consistent with their “biological sex.”

Defines biological sex as the physical condition of being male or female, as determined by chromosomes and assigned at birth.

 

Requires schools to provide available alternative accommodations to transgender students if they have parental permission.

 

Alternative accommodations shall not include multiuser facilities designated for students of the other sex. Alternative accommodations may include single-user restrooms, unisex bathrooms, or access to faculty facilities.

Allows students to sue schools if they encounter people “of the opposite biological sex” in multiuser sex-segregated facilities.
*Minnesota House File 41 Failed Requires public school student multiuser restrooms, locker rooms, shower rooms, and changing rooms be designated for and used by male or female students only. Defines sex as being determined by chromosomes and sex assigned at birth.  

 

Allows schools to provide alternative accommodations to students in special circumstances. Alternative accommodations shall not include multiuser facilities designated for students of the other sex. Alternative accommodations may include single-user facilities or access to faculty facilities.

*Minnesota House File 2553 Failed Requires employers, public schools, and universities to designate all multiuser restrooms, locker rooms, shower facilities, and changing rooms for either male students only or female students only. Students are required to use restroom facilities consistent with their “biological sex.”

 

Defines biological sex as the physical condition of being male or female, as determined by a person’s chromosomes, assigned at birth, 

 

*Missouri SB 98 Failed—Adjourned Requires that all public school student multiuser restrooms, locker rooms, and shower rooms be designated for use by students based on their “biological sex.”

 

Defines biological sex as the physical condition of being male or female, as determined by a person’s chromosomes, assigned at birth, and indicated on their birth certificate.

 

School officials may provide transgender students with alternative accommodations if they have parental permission. Alternative accommodations shall not include multiuser facilities designated for students of the other sex. Alternative accommodations may include single-user restrooms, unisex restrooms, or access to faculty restrooms.

Missouri HB 202 Failed—Adjourned Requires all public restrooms, other than single-occupancy restrooms, to be gender-divided. Prohibits local governments, businesses, and buildings from enacting policies counter to this law.
*Missouri HB 745 Failed—Adjourned Requires schools to designate all multiuser restrooms, locker rooms, and shower rooms for use only by students of the same “biological sex.”

 

Defines biological sex as the physical condition of being male or female, as determined by chromosomes, assigned by birth, and indicated on birth certificates.

 

Allows school officials to provide alternative accommodations for transgender students with parental permission. Alternative accommodations shall not include  multiuser facilities designated for students of the other sex. Alternative accommodations may include single-stall restrooms, unisex restrooms, or faculty facilities.
*Montana HB 609 Failed—Adjourned Requires public schools, colleges, universities, and government buildings to designate all multiuser restrooms, locker rooms, shower facilities, and changing rooms for either male students only or female students only. Students are required to use restroom facilities consistent with their “biological sex.”

 

Defines biological sex as the physical condition of being male or female as assigned at birth and indicated on a person’s birth certificate.

 

Prohibits local governments from enacting policies counter to this law. 

*New York AB 5422 Failed Requires the board of education to designate all multiuser restrooms, locker rooms, shower facilities, and changing rooms for either male students only or female students only. Students are required to use restroom facilities consistent with their “biological sex.”

 

Defines biological sex as the physical condition of being male or female as assigned at birth and indicated on a person’s birth certificate.

South Carolina

HB 3012 Failed Stipulates that local government can’t enact local laws requiring places of public accommodation or private clubs to allow a person to use a multiple occupancy bathroom or changing facility regardless of the person's “biological sex.”

 

Defines biological sex as the physical condition of being male or female, as stated on a person’s birth certificate.

 

Allows for localities to enact local laws requiring people to use a multiple occupancy bathroom or changing facility designated for “his biological sex.”

*South Dakota SB 115 Failed (withdrawn Jan. 31, 2017) This bill would have required schools to designate multiuser locker rooms, shower rooms and changing rooms for use by only people of the same “biological sex.” Defined biological sex as being determined by anatomy and genetics at the time of birth, evidenced by birth certificates.
*Tennessee HB 888 Failed Requires public schools and higher education institutions to have each student use the restroom and locker room facilities consistent with the student’s sex, as indicated on their original birth certificate.  
*Tennessee SB 771  Failed Requires public schools and higher education institutions to have each student use the restroom and locker room facilities consistent with the student’s sex, as indicated on their original birth certificate.   
*Texas SB 6 Failed

Prohibits local government from adopting policies related to restroom use.

 

Requires school districts and government entities  to adopt policies requiring that multiuser restrooms and changing facilities be designated for and used by people based on their “biological sex.”

 

Defines biological sex as the condition of being male or female, as stated on a person’s birth certificate.

 

Outlines accommodations and exceptions. Provides criminal and civil penalties for not complying with the law.

*Texas  HB 1362 Failed Prohibits local school districts from adopting policies allowing more than one sex or gender to use the same multiuser restroom, locker room, or changing room. Does not define sex or gender. 

 

Prohibits local government from passing non-discrimination ordinances related to restroom access. 

*Texas SB 3 a Failed Requires public schools, open-enrollment charter schools, and local governments to designate all multiuser restrooms, locker rooms, shower facilities, and changing rooms for either males only or females only. Persons are required to use facilities consistent with their “biological sex.”

 

Defines biological sex as the physical condition of being male or female as assigned at birth and indicated on a person’s birth certificate.

*Texas  HB 91 a  Failed Requires public schools, open-enrollment charter schools, and local governments to designate all multiuser restrooms, locker rooms, shower facilities, and changing rooms for either males only or females only. Persons are required to use facilities consistent with their “biological sex.”

 

Defines biological sex as the physical condition of being male or female as assigned at birth and indicated on a person’s birth certificate.

 

Prohibits public schools, open-enrollment charter schools, and local governments from enacting policies counter to this law. 

*Virginia HB 1612 Failed Jan. 19, 2017 This bill would have required schools and government entities to provide for members of the opposite sex separate restrooms and other facilities in a building owned, leased, or otherwise controlled by the entity; provides that, subject to certain exceptions, no individual shall enter a restroom or other facility designated for use by members of the opposite sex.
*Virginia HB 663 Failed  Requires all public restrooms be designated for use by either males only or females only. Persons are required to use restroom facilities consistent with their “anatomical sex.”

 

Requires the local school boards to implement policies requiring every school to designate all multiuser restrooms, locker rooms, shower facilities, and changing rooms for either male students only or female students only. Students are required to use restroom facilities consistent with their “anatomical sex.”

 

Defines “anatomical sex” as the physical condition of being male or female as determined by anatomy.

 

Allows for a $50 fine for any person or student who willfully and knowingly violates the law. 

Washington HB 1011 Failed Allows public and private entities to limit access to gender-segregated facilities “if the person is preoperative, nonoperative, or otherwise has genitalia of a different gender from that which the facility is segregated.”

 

Outlines exceptions.

Wyoming HB 244 Failed (Feb. 3, 2017) Creates a crime of public indecency if a person uses a public, sex-segregated bathroom or changing room that does not correspond to the person’s sex assigned at birth.

 

The asterisk (*) indicates a bill that specifically addresses schools. 

2016 Federal Guidance 

In a "Dear Colleague" letter, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) issued guidance to schools in May 2016. The guidance summarizes schools' Title IX obligations regarding transgender students and explains how the U.S. Department of Education and U.S. Department of Justice evaluate a school's compliance with the obligations. One obligation listed in the letter is providing transgender students access to sex-segregated activities and facilities consistent with their gender identity. The letter defines gender identity as "an individual's internal sense of gender," and says "a person's gender identity may be different from or the same as the person's sex assigned at birth."

In February 2017, ED and DOJ issued another “Dear Colleague” letter withdrawing the May 2016 guidance, along with previous guidance issued in 2015.

State Legislation Responding to the May 2016 Guidance 
State  Bill Number Disposition Summary
New Jersey Assembly Bill 3976 Failed Requires Attorney General to provide assistance to public schools in legal proceedings related to reduction in federal aid in certain cases if school does not follow the federal guidance on transgender students. One obligation listed in the guidance is providing transgender students access to sex-segregated activities and facilities consistent with their gender identity. 
Oklahoma Senate Joint Resolution 36 Failed Citing the 10th Amendment says the Federal Guidance in the 2016  "Dear Colleague" letter is void in Oklahoma. 
 

Overview of State Legislation from 2013-16

From 2013 to 2016, at least 24 states considered "bathroom bills," or legislation that would restrict access to multiuser restrooms, locker rooms, and other sex-segregated facilities on the basis of a definition of sex or gender consistent with sex assigned at birth or “biological sex.” North Carolina is the only state to enact this type of legislation. 

Arizona considered a bathroom bill that failed to pass in 2013.

At least nine states considered bathroom bills in 2015, including Colorado, Florida, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, Texas and Wisconsin. None of these bills were enacted. 

At least 19 states considered bathroom bills in 2016. One state – North Carolina – enacted this type of legislation. South Dakota’s bill passed in both chambers, but was vetoed by the governor. Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, New York, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin also considered similar legislation in 2016.

Joellen Kralik and Jennifer Palmer work in NCSL's education program. 

 

 

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