COLUMBIA ï¿½" A South Carolina lawmaker wants businesses to have an open-door policy when it comes to restroom facilities. Rep. Robert Williams has introduced a bill that would require every retailer, including convenience stores, allow anybody who asks to use the restroom, the Associated Press reports.
Williams sponsored the bill after an elderly relative he had been shopping with had been denied use of a dollar storeï¿½ï¿½s facilities. "We had to end up leaving the store. I just feel if merchants are going to actually sell products to customers, the least they can do is have one bathroom customers can use," he said. "We have it at Walmart and K-Mart. I donï¿½ï¿½t see why these other small merchants canï¿½ï¿½t fix that."
Williams said the billï¿½ï¿½s intent is for customers shopping in the store, not those just needing a bathroom break. But the proposalï¿½ï¿½s language states any customer or potential customer who comes in the store. The bill also applies to any retailer selling "tangible personal property."
Nationally, 14 states have similar laws on the books, but most have a narrower definition of need, such as people with medical conditions that necessitate immediate access to a restroom.
The measure was on Tuesdayï¿½ï¿½s agenda of the Labor Commerce and Industry panel. "Itï¿½ï¿½s totally unfair," said Rep, Mac Toole, who chairs the subcommittee. "This is not the way to resolve that issue. ï¿½ï¿½ This would be an absolute nightmare to impose on small business people out there."