by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
In the first days of 2017, legislators in five states have introduced so-called “bathroom bills” restricting access to public accommodations.
Legislative moves this week in Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, Texas and Virginia represent the latest efforts at the center of a broader public debate over transgender rights.
Additionally, lawmakers in Alabama, South Carolina and Washington filed so-called bathroom bills last year for introduction during the upcoming sessions.
Since 2013, at least 24 states have considered restricting access to restrooms, locker rooms and other facilities on the basis of biological sex, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
The American Civil Liberties Union in May filed a lawsuit challenging Mississippi’s religious freedom law, which critics say will discriminate against gay and transgender people. Part of the law, known as HB 1523, allows employers and school administrators to dictate access to bathrooms, spas, locker rooms “or other intimate facilities and settings.”