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State senator proposes policing public restrooms

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Posted at 6:32 PM, Dec 22, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-22 18:32:09-05

INDIANAPOLIS -- An Indiana state senator is proposing making it a Class A misdemeanor to enter a bathroom designated for the opposite sex.

State Senator Jim Tomes (R-Wadesville) authored SB 35, which would require student locker rooms, restrooms and shower rooms to be designated for use only by students of one "biological gender."

Tomes told the Evansville Courier & Press he had been approached by constituents worried about men using women's restrooms, and vice versa.

The concerns are part of a larger conversation about rights for individuals who identify as transgender, or non-male or non-female. Some universities, including IUPUI, have created all-gender restrooms in response to calls for greater public accomodation for transgender individuals.

RELATED | IUPUI introducing all-gender restrooms

The bill defines "biological gender" as "the physical condition of being male or female, as determined by an individual's chromosomes and identified at birth by the individual's anatomy."

The bill would also make it a Class A misdemeanor for an adult man or woman to enter a single-sex public facility designated only for members of the opposite sex. It includes exceptions for custodial purposes, rendering medical assistance and accompanying a child less than 8 years old. 

The Indiana General Assembly will begin the 2016 legislative session in January.

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