Frazzled parents may get relief from Md. diaper-change bill

WASHINGTON — Parents in Maryland may get government help in performing a sometimes messy, always important task — changing a baby’s diaper.

State Sen. C. Anthony Muse, D-Prince George’s, said his bill came at the suggestion of frazzled constituents who visited his office.

“They look for a place to change their babies, and they complain at times, because there’s no place in that large building for them to actually do it,” Muse told WTOP.

The Maryland Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs committee on Tuesday, will hold a hearing on Muse’s bill, which would require at least one diaper-changing facility in each state-owned building, accessible to a father or mother.

“Restaurants must do it, private businesses must do it, why not the state?”

Most parents have searched for a diaper changing station, but settled for a flat surface — often without privacy,

“We have state buildings, and people have business that sometimes takes them two or three hours to complete, and there’s no place to change their babies,” Muse said.

Ironically, state lawmakers had previously required businesses to provide bathrooms with diaper changing facilities.

“I think we overlooked the fact that we have to be leaders in what we ask others to do,” Muse said.

Under Muse’s Senate Bill 782,  all state-owned buildings that have separate male and female bathrooms must have a bathroom with a diaper-changing station that either parent could use. If the building had one “family” bathroom, one diaper station would suffice.

The retrofitting project would be substantial, “but not terribly expensive,” said Muse. State buildings range in size from the General Assembly in Annapolis, to recreation centers, to restrooms at state parks.

“This may sound large, but it may be they amend it to phase it in, with larger buildings, then smaller buildings,” said Muse. “I’ll leave that to the wisdom of the committees.”

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Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

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