Equity in access to changing tables In public restrooms has grown into a movement across the country. Howard County has advanced that movement with new legislation this year.

Earlier this year, Christiana Mercer Rigby and Opel Jones proposed legislation to mandate changing tables in newly constructed public restrooms, no matter the gender. It has since passed and went into effect. As part of our charter, we strive to see Howard County as a more dad-friendly community and this was a step in that direction. We reached out to Councilwoman Mercer Rigby and asked a few questions about this legislation here is how it went:

Question: How did this proposal come about?

Answer:The idea for legislation expanding access to diaper-changing stations originated from a personal experience I had at the George Howard Building several years ago. I came to watch public testimony on a Council Bill will my newborn, and I found that there was no changing station available at the County government building. This is an issue that most parents experience on a regular basis, so I partnered with Councilman Jones, who also has experienced this issue as a parent with young kids, to introduce CB14-2019, the diaper-changing station legislation. This bill amended the Howard County Building Code to ensure that all new public bathrooms or renovations include diaper changing stations for parents of all genders, and I’m pleased that CB14 passed the County Council in a unanimous vote.

Question: What else is in the works pertaining to parenting?

Answer: As I am exploring more family-friendly legislation for Howard County, I would welcome feedback and recommendations from Howard County Dads. Community input often leads to some of the most common-sense and impactful legislation getting passed, so I would love to hear from you as we continue to work on County policy that embraces parents and families!

Question: Any message to our group of dedicated and engaged local fathers?
Answer: Thank you for your work advocating for parental engagement in Howard County. Our community is stronger when more parents are active in involved, and I truly appreciate your efforts to promote fatherhood engagement. Keep up the good dad work!

In recent years, this topic has been on the national stage. You may have even seen some of the viral posts promoting #squatforchange.

It’s nice to see dads getting support locally as well. The state of New York enacted a similar mandate this year. In 2016,  federal legislation required federally owned buildings to install changing tables in restrooms no matter the gender.

Have you ever gotten into a jam where you needed a changing table but couldn’t find one in the men’s room? Chime in and let us know your thoughts on this.