Norman City Council considering ordinance requiring changing tables in men’s restrooms

NORMAN, Okla. - Norman City Councilwoman Kate Bierman says she never really thought about the issue before having her daughter 10 months ago.

Her husband tried taking their daughter into a restroom to change her diaper, but had to come right back out because there was no changing table.

“I frankly didn't even think about it, and I don’t know that he did either. He just, you know, wanted to take her off my hands for a minute,” said Bierman.

She brought it up at the Norman City Council’s retreat in August.

“Because Norman bills itself as a very family friendly community, I feel that this is an important factor in making sure we really are as family friendly as we say we are,” said Bierman.

The ordinance they came up with would require the changing tables in both women’s and men’s restrooms, or a family restroom, for any new construction or any business renovating at least half their existing bathroom space.

Bierman says it’s an issue of inclusivity.

“Men are taking a greater role in child care and it allows single fathers to have access to changing facilities where they otherwise might not be able to,” said Bierman.

“As far as government requiring you to do it, I just think that's an overreach of, it’s not a public safety issue, it’s not a public health issue,” said fellow Norman City Councilman Robert Castleberry.

Castleberry says he’s completely in favor of businesses putting changing tables in the men’s restroom. He just doesn’t think it’s the city’s job to require it.

“Requiring government to do something to make your life convenient, it's kind of a slippery slope for me,” said Castleberry.

Rudy Khouri, owner of La Baguette Bakery in Norman, already has changing tables in the men’s restrooms at his restaurants.

“If a dad came here, and I've seen several come with their kids, and it was they needed to change them, so it was convenient and they like that,” said Khouri.

“As far as I know, we would be the first city in Oklahoma to require changing tables,” said Bierman.

Bierman says the ordinance will go to a full city council study session, and then they should be voting on it soon.