Capitol Alert

California transgender bill spurs initiative for ‘bathroom privacy’

The restrooms at Pancake Circus, a restaurant in Sacramento. Privacy For All wants to ensure people in government buildings use facilities in accordance with their biological sex. It also would shield businesses from lawsuits for requiring that patrons and employees use bathrooms in accordance with their sex.
The restrooms at Pancake Circus, a restaurant in Sacramento. Privacy For All wants to ensure people in government buildings use facilities in accordance with their biological sex. It also would shield businesses from lawsuits for requiring that patrons and employees use bathrooms in accordance with their sex. lsterling@sacbee.com

Opponents have opened up a new front in the fight against a California law allowing transgender students to use public school facilities such as bathrooms, showers and locker rooms that correspond to their gender identities.

Privacy For All, the group targeting Assembly Bill 1266, on Friday submitted a proposed 2016 initiative that would mandate people in government buildings use facilities in accordance with their biological sex. It would allow people who feel their privacy was violated – or who chose not to use a facility because of a violation of the measure – to sue the government or the individual for damages and attorney’s fees.

The Personal Privacy Protection Act, which would require 365,880 signatures to make the ballot, also aims to shield business owners from lawsuits for requiring that patrons and employees use bathrooms in accordance with their sex.

Privacy For All sued after then-Secretary of State Debra Bowen announced last year that the group came up several thousand signatures short of the number needed to qualify their repeal for the November 2014 ballot.

Referendum advocates said while they hope to prevail in court, the initiative is needed because it applies to all government buildings, including schools.

“We hope to wrap up the court battle over the AB 1266 referendum and place that on the ballot, said spokeswoman Karen England. “But we also expect to have this new initiative before the voters at the same time.”

Call Christopher Cadelago, Bee Capitol Bureau, (916) 326-5538. Follow him on Twitter @ccadelago.

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