NEW YORK — The House Judiciary Committee has passed a bill that would make it a crime to use a bathroom or locker room that’s “not a private dwelling.”
It’s a sweeping proposal that’s likely to go nowhere in the Senate, but House Republicans said Tuesday they plan to send it to President Donald Trump.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) is trying to get the bill passed by March 1, which means Republicans will need at least eight Democrats to back it.
It would be a felony to intentionally create a “bathroom, shower or lockerroom that is not a private residence, place of business, or facility of a public accommodation, or a place of employment.”
If a person knows of a bathroom, shower, or locker facility that’s not a public dwelling, they could be charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor.
“This is a first in the nation,” Goodlatt said in a statement.
The bill would make the criminal penalty a misdemeanor.
It would also prohibit people from intentionally creating a “private dwelling, place, business or facility” that is a “public accommodation” or a “place of employment” that has a public restroom or locker space.
Goodlatte said the bill’s purpose is to protect transgender Americans who feel they’re being discriminated against.
“The fact that the president believes that he can bully and bully and punish a woman is appalling,” Goodlattt said.
Trump tweeted in support of the bill Tuesday morning.
“If this passes, I will be very happy to sign it into law, which is why I have made it a priority to get this done.”
Trump has previously said transgender people should use the restroom that matches their gender identity, which would prohibit any private bathrooms from being used by transgender people.
The bill comes as the GOP prepares to take over the House, and the Trump administration has been under intense pressure to take action against transgender rights.
Trump and other GOP lawmakers have called for a bill banning transgender people from using public bathrooms that correspond to their gender identities, but no such legislation has passed.
Supporters say transgender people are at risk of suicide if they don’t have access to a private restroom.