Sen. Doug Ericksen says he wants to repeal the Human Rights Commission ruling that guarantees transgender people access to restrooms and locker rooms.
OLYMPIA — A large turnout is expected Wednesday as a state Senate committee considers a bill that aims to repeal a Human Rights Commission ruling on transgender bathroom access.
Danni Askini, executive director of the Gender Justice League, said she will bring more than 50 people to the hearing to support keeping the commission’s rule in place, which guarantees access to restrooms, locker rooms and other such facilities, according to a person’s gender identity. Askini expects many to appear in support of the bill.
Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale, is sponsoring Senate Bill 6443, which would require the commission to rescind the rule.
The Human Rights Commission has said the rule, which took effect in December, clarifies a 2006 state law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. The regulation has generated an uproar, with many transgender people saying they feel most comfortable using the restroom or locker room of the gender with which they identify. Others have complained about feeling uneasy sharing a locker room with a man or woman who hasn’t surgically transitioned.
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On the House side, Rep. Laurie Jinkins, D-Tacoma, chairwoman of the House Judiciary Committee, has said she won’t schedule a hearing for similar legislation, House Bill 2589.
Given that the Senate bill would have to gain approval in both chambers, and the House is controlled by Democrats, eventual passage is somewhat of a longshot.
Ericksen said the goal of his legislation is to allow local control on the issue in a state with many different regional views and standings.
“I think this issue transcends political boundaries,” he said. “I’m optimistic that Democratic legislators will listen to their constituents.”
The hearing before the Senate Committee on Commerce and Labor will begin at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday in Senate Hearing Room 4 of the Cherberg Building on the Capitol campus in Olympia. A committee vote is scheduled for 5:45 p.m.