SACRAMENTO — State Sen. Art Torres (D-Los Angeles) introduced legislation Tuesday aimed at vastly increasing the number of public toilets in restrooms for women, who often must queue up in long lines to use restrooms at heavily attended athletic and entertainment events.
Torres said at a press conference that women who face waiting in line for half an hour "often are driven to storm the men's room or resort to the bushes--clearly not the most safe or sanitary alternatives."
He asserted that men seldom must wait in line and deplored an "inequitably" high ratio of toilets for men compared with those for women at public facilities.
Torres said the inspiration for his so-called "restroom equity bill" occurred last year while he waited impatiently outside a women's room at the Hollywood Bowl for his wife, Yolanda, "while she waited impatiently inside."
He identified the "worst offenders" as the Hollywood Bowl, the Forum, the Rose Bowl and the Los Angeles Coliseum.
Torres' bill would not solve those particular problems, however, because it would apply only to facilities built after next Jan. 1. A similar bill he introduced last year that also would have applied to existing facilities was killed by a committee. Torres conceded that changing existing facilities would be enormously expensive.
His new bill would apply to publicly and privately owned facilities ranging from sports and entertainment arenas to parks and ski resorts. Restaurants and hotels would be exempt because they don't have a "restroom equity" problem, Torres said.
Under the bill, an auditorium, theater and convention hall holding up to 400 people would have to provide eight toilets for women and three toilets and three urinals for men. For larger facilities, additional toilets would be added according to projections of the percentages of men and women a particular kind of facility could be expected to attract.
Two more toilets would be added for each additional 300 women, and one would be added for each additional 500 men. Likewise, four more urinals would be added for each additional 200 men up to 600. After 600, one extra urinal would be added per 300 additional men.
Seven women legislators are listed as co-authors on Torres' bill.