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Statement in Support of H.R. 5147, BABIES ACT

Sep 20, 2016
Statements for the Record

Mr. Carson:         Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

I support this bill, as amended, which directs the General Services Administration (GSA) to install baby changing stations in restrooms in public buildings across the Nation. I’d also like to commend my colleague, the gentleman from Rhode Island (Mr. Cicilline), for his leadership on this issue, and for his willingness to work with me to bring this bill to the Floor today.

This is a simple and smart bill that makes public buildings more family friendly. Equal access to baby changing stations in Federal buildings, in both men’s and women’s restrooms across the country, is essential to protecting the health and safety of children, and encouraging a more accessible environment for parents and caregivers.      

Despite the fact that the cost of a baby changing station is nominal, not all public buildings have baby changing stations in their restrooms. As a result, many caretakers are forced to change their children on the floor or on the countertop of public restrooms. Not only does this put the health and safety of babies at risk, but it also puts the health of other restroom patrons at risk.

I’m pleased that our Committee worked closely with Representative Cicilline to achieve the original purpose of the bill and to keep the costs down for this change in public policy. The amended bill directs GSA to include at least one baby changing station in the men’s and women’s restrooms on each floor of a public building. The requirements of this bill do not apply to any restrooms in Federal buildings which are not available to the public.

Families should never have to face the hardship of inadequate baby changing facilities while in a public building. The BABIES Act fixes this problem and make our public buildings more family-friendly. This common-sense legislation will make lives easier for countless families across the country.

I urge my colleagues to join me in supporting this legislation.