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Men’s bathrooms in federal buildings are about to get more ‘family-friendly'

Modern families are dividing up child rearing more evenly — and in federal buildings, at least, one task is about to get easier for men.

All public federal buildings will require changing tables for babies in both male and female bathrooms in the next two years, thanks to the Bathrooms Accessible in Every Situation Act, which President Barack Obama signed into law on Friday. Appropriately acronymed BABIES, the act passed overwhelmingly in the House and by a voice vote in the Senate before receiving Obama’s signature.

Rep. David Cicilline of Rhode Island, who sponsored the bill, praised its passage as a step toward accessibility for citizens.

“Federal buildings are paid for by taxpayers and it’s important to ensure that they are as open, as accessible, and as family-friendly as possible,” Rep. Cicilline wrote in a Facebook post after the bill was signed into law. “This is how government should work to make commonsense reforms that make life easier for the people we serve.”

The law is not the first attempt to install changing facilities in places also accessible for men. The California State Assembly passed a similar bill that would have mandated the changing tables for businesses in 2014, though Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed the legislation. A similar bill is currently being considered in committee in New York.

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