By Bob Katzen
The Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities held a virtual hearing on legislation that would require public buildings and places of public accommodation to provide a private or semi-private diaper changing station accessible to all caretakers of children,
regardless of sex, gender or disability. The requirement would apply only to new construction of public buildings or places of public accommodation and those undergoing significant renovation. Signage indicating the location of the diaper changing station must be posted at or near the entrance of a facility.
“All parents and caregivers in our commonwealth should be able to change their children’s diapers in a safe, sanitary and accessible setting, regardless of gender or ability,” said Senate sponsor Sen. Becca Rausch (D-Needham). “This is a short and simple bill that will solve a big problem for parents and make a real difference to Bay Staters and visitors alike.”
“This crucial legislation will expand caregivers’ access to diaper changing stations across the commonwealth,” noted House sponsor Rep. Steve Owens (D-Watertown). “As a father who has experienced difficulty in finding changing stations for my own children, I’m proud to sponsor this bill.”
DIAPER BANK (S 125) – Also heard by the Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities was a measure that would create a pilot trial program for organizations such as food pantries to create a diaper bank or distribution center to distribute diapers to families in need.
“Families, now more than ever, are in need of diapers,” said sponsor Sen. Joan Lovely (D-Salem). “The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated issues across our commonwealth, placing additional strains on families already struggling to afford basic necessities, including diapers … This public health issue is necessary to keep children healthy and help keep parents employed. Our babies and families deserve better and this legislation takes a direct approach to addressing this far-reaching issue.”