LITTLE ROCK — A legislative panel voted Wednesday to conduct a study during the interim between sessions on a proposal to require people to use public bathrooms that match the gender on their birth certificates.
The Senate Judiciary Committee voted to study legislation by Sen. Linda Collins-Smith, R-Pocahontas, that failed to advance out of that panel during this year’s legislative session.
Senate Bill 774 would have required government entities to label their bathrooms for use by one gender and allow a person to use only the bathroom that matches the gender on the person’s birth certificate. A person who encountered a person violating the measure in a bathroom in a government building could sue the government entity in charge of the building.
North Carolina experienced costly boycotts after passing a broader bill on bathroom access, which was widely seen as targeting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson opposed the bill, saying there was no need for it. The Christian conservative Family Council supported the bill, which it said would protect the safety and privacy of women and children.
In an interview Wednesday, Collins-Smith said her bill did not receive much discussion in committee during the session and that it was erroneously perceived as mirroring North Carolina’s bathroom law.
“I really am happy that this bill will get to be heard and all parties interested will have an opportunity to come to the table to express their concerns and support for the bill and the need to keep children and women safe. And the public will see this bill has nothing to do with the North Carolina bill,” she said.