FILE - Gender Neutral Bathroom

A state Senator wants single-occupancy restrooms throughout the state in schools and businesses with public accommodations to have a gender-neutral sign.

Amendment 1 to Senate Bill 556 from Sen. Melinda Bush, D-Grayslake, would require any single-occupancy restroom to be labeled with a gender neutral designation, but some within her own party worried the measure may add to what some business owners see as a growing list of regulations that make doing business in the state more difficult.

Bush said the measure does not require any new plumbing or new facilities be built, it would only require that if the place of public accommodation has a single-occupant bathroom that it have a gender-neutral label. If passed, such restrooms could only be used by one person at a time, or by a family.

State Sen. Linda Holmes, D-Aurora, said some women may not want to use the same facility as a men.

“I actually think women are a little bit cleaner,” Holmes said.

Others took issue with what they feel will be concerns from small business owners.

“We just kind of did a minimum wage bill that kind of ticked off a lot of small business owners,” said state Sen. Michael Hastings, D-Tinley Park. “And now you're about to come back on a pizza shop owner who has one bathroom ... has a restroom, and the bill specifically says it has to be one gender."

Bush said she’d bring back an amendment to change the language to clarify some aspects.

Staff Reporter

Greg Bishop reports on Illinois government and other statewide issues for The Center Square. Bishop has years of award-winning broadcast experience, and previously hosted “Bishop On Air,” a morning-drive current events talk show.