Breaking News
More () »

Arkansas bathroom bill passes committee with amendment specifying 'sexual desire'

Bill sponsor Sen. John Payton opened the committee meeting by acknowledging that SB270 has "a lot of hype."

ARKANSAS, USA — On March 28, Arkansas lawmakers discussed another so-called “bathroom bill” that would expand the definition of sexual indecency with a child.

In its original wording, the bill's intent was to make it a crime for an adult to go into a bathroom not corresponding with their assigned birth sex, *and* enter knowing there would be a minor inside.

During the Arkansas House Judiciary Committee meeting on Tuesday, an amended version of the bill was passed— now including that the person must enter the bathroom with "the purpose of arousing or gratifying a sexual desire of himself or herself or any other person."

This is one of two “bathroom bills” that have gone through the state legislature. Last week, Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders signed a law prohibiting transgender people at public schools from using the restroom that aligns with their gender identity.


Bill sponsor Sen. John Payton opened the committee meeting by acknowledging that SB270 has "a lot of hype." While he alluded to being in favor of a similar bill with transgender people at the center, he said, "that's not what this bill is... This bill applies to all people."

Payton seemed to concede that his bill requires "very high standards to try to prove." But he and proponents of the bill say it’s meant to protect the privacy of children in designated bathrooms or “changing facilities” like locker rooms and shower rooms.

Despite saying that the bill didn't target transgender people, Payton went on to say, "I grew up in a world where boys used the boys' bathroom and the girl's bathroom and for the most part everyone looked the part. Because we've tried to make accommodations in recent years to allow people to transition from one sex to another, then we created this problem."

Rep. Ashley Hudson said in rebuttal, "again you're talking about someone merely existing."

The bill has already passed the Senate and will have to be approved by the House.

Follow 5NEWS on social media: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube

Download the 5NEWS app on your smartphone:

Stream 5NEWS 24/7 on the 5+ app: How to watch the 5+ app on your streaming device

To report a typo or grammatical error, please email KFSMDigitalTeam@tegna.com and detail which story you're referring to.


Before You Leave, Check This Out