Stone Fights to Modernize Public Accommodations
LANSING — State Rep. Lori Stone (D-Warren) held a press conference earlier today to unveil a plan to modernize the standard of handicap accessible restrooms in Michigan by promoting inclusion, access, and equity for all individuals. Named ‘Liam’s Law’, House Bill 5409 would require the installation of adult-sized, height-adjustable changing stations in applicable public restrooms.
“Michigan must be a state where no one’s needs are ignored or forgotten, including our neighbors living with disabilities,” said Stone. “These safe, convenient tables provide the accommodations needed to protect our neighbors from harm, while respecting their health and privacy. Today, we start moving toward making this a more inclusive state for all of us — where everyone is treated with the dignity and respect they deserve.”
The law would apply to certain buildings or structures constructed after Jan. 1, 2022 or renovated after Jan. 1, 2025 that serve 1,500 or more persons per day. Applicable facilities may include state-owned buildings, exhibition or entertainment venues, museums and libraries, parks and zoos, airports, bus stations, interstate rest stops, schools, hospitals and more.
“We often take for granted how fortunate we are to be able to go where we please without a second thought,” said state Rep. Sarah Anthony (D-Lansing), who spoke in support of the legislation. “But for our neighbors with disabilities, visiting local businesses or attending local events can become incredibly stressful — or even impossible — to enjoy. We want to be sure that every person, no matter who they are, have the accommodations they need to feel welcome and safe in our state.”
Liam’s Law is the culmination of years of work by Liam’s mother, Jessica Gomez, who has been a longtime advocate for more appropriate accommodations for individuals living with disabilities of any age.
“With this bill, we can ensure a future of inclusion for all members of our communities across Michigan – for our children, our grandchildren, our veterans, our elderly, and our disabled,” said Gomez. “Everyone, including Liam, deserves to have a fair chance at equal opportunities and experiences, something as simple as access to an accessible restroom shouldn’t be what holds them back.”
“This is about promoting dignity and access to community living,” said Amy Maes of Disability Network Oakland and Macomb, who spoke in support of the bill. “This is about ensuring each person can be a full participant in their communities – the same as anyone else.”