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Adult Changing Stations: A Surprising Way to Win

Monday, April 5, 2021

People always think the only way to win an issue is to get a bill passed, but sometimes there are other ways to come out a winner.  Legislation is often introduced to keep an agency's feet to the fire, or to push for an issue to be addressed.  Sometimes agencies agree to do it voluntarily, so passing a bill isn't required.  That is what happened with House File 492, the bill that requires the Department of Transportation (DOT) to install adult changing tables in modern Interstate bathrooms.  The bill didn't make it off the House Floor because it's lead sponsor, Rep. Ann Meyer (R-Fort Dodge) was able to get agreement from the DOT to do this without legislation, and to build it into their budget for the next year.  

As Rep. Meyer reported in her weekly newsletter, "This bill will not be advancing, but that is NOT bad news! The DOT has shared that they will be voluntarily installing several changing tables in certain rest stops, primarily in new constructions as that is the most cost effective. The first one is under construction in Victor, Iowa (I-80 between Des Moines and Iowa City). They have been working with Changing Spaces advocates. The DOT was committed and had made the decision to incorporate adult changing stations because they felt it was the right thing to do. Here's an example of what can be done with collaboration and not government mandates!"

This is great news for advocates - and a great example of how a parent advocate (Amanda Milham) connected with her State Representative (Ann Meyer) to get an issue addressed.  It's also a great example of how a state agency (DOT) can work with local advocates (Changing Spaces Iowa) to make sure our state is accessible to all who live here or visit.  Congratulations to all who worked on this issue!

DID YOU KNOW?  You can sign up to receive any legislator's newsletter from the legislative website.  You can sign up for your Representative or Senator - or add in others that you want to follow (but remember, you'll get them in your inbox and you may not want 150 each week!).  If you don't know who your Representative or Senator are, you can find out here.  At the bottom of the legislator's page, you will find a "Subscribe to Newsletter" link.

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