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“Bathroom bill” passes Arkansas House Judiciary Committee after hours of discussion



Little Rock, Arkansas Despite some opposition, a bill known as the “bathroom bill” in Arkansas is making its way through the legislature.

If a youngster is in the restroom when an adult uses the opposite gender bathroom, SB270 makes that behavior illegal.

The bill was revised to make it illegal to use the restroom “for the purpose of stimulating or fulfilling a sexual desire,” and the House Judiciary Committee approved the change.

On Tuesday, the committee heard hours of public testimony, with a total of three pages of speakers opposed to it.

Young Samuel Asmus, 15, spoke out against the legislation, calling it an unwarranted attack on the transgender community.

“There are real people who do things to children that should be charged and sentenced, but that is not transgender people peacefully living their life in Arkansas,” he said in an interview after testifying.

The bill’s sponsors, Sen. John Payton and House. Cindy Crawford claimed that it applies to everyone, not simply people who identify with a gender other than the one they were given at birth.

“This is not asking you not to go into a bathroom,” Crawford said. “This is asking you to wait if there is a child in the bathroom.”

According to Payton, the measure twice precisely defines the word “knowingly,” which should make it simple for people to avoid legal trouble if they have good intentions.

“This bill is not broad and just throwing a blanket over everything,” he said. “This is going to be special circumstances.”

The bill is headed to the full House for vote next.