California Gov. Jerry Brown has vetoed two bills requiring businesses to establish diaper changing tables in men’s restrooms, writing fiscal, rather than moral, considerations compelled his decision. "At a time when so many have raised concerns about the number of regulations in California, I believe it would be more prudent to leave the matter of diaper changing stations to the private sector," Brown said. "This may be a good business practice, but not one that I am inclined to legislate,"
The two bills were alike but not identical. SB 1358, proposed by state Sen. Lois Wolk, a Davis Democrat, would mandate public buildings throughout the state have at least one diaper changing table available for both women and men. SB 1350, written by state Sen. Ricardo Lara, a Democrat from Bell Gardens, would require businesses already installing a changing table to make one available to both genders.
The bills reflect the growing participation of men in child rearing. A recent government study revealed 90 percent of fathers who live with their children bathe, dress, or diaper them each week. In the past decade, male diaper changing stations have proliferated throughout the country, and cities such as Miami and San Francisco have enacted laws requiring some buildings to provide gender neutral diaper changing stations.
In his decision, Brown indicated that changing societal norms negate the need for the government to require the tables, which cost some $180.
"Already, many businesses have taken steps to accommodate their customers in this regard," he said.