14 Democrats Vote Against Ban on Monitoring Devices in Public Restrooms

By Shane Vander Hart

A bill that bans on monitoring devices within public restrooms, locker rooms and other locations where people have a “reasonable expectation of privacy” was sent to Iowa Governor Terry Branstad’s desk on Wednesday afternoon. SF 499 originally passed in the Iowa Senate unanimously 49-0 on March 11. The Iowa House passed the measure on an 82-14 bipartisan vote.

The bill reads in part:

The state or a political subdivision of the state, including but not limited to a public library, public school, or other government office open to the public, shall not use a monitoring device in a toilet, bath, or shower facility; locker room; common area within such a facility or room, including an area where a sink or changing table is located; or other space open to the public where a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy.

If signed into law the bill would require public schools, public libraries, public hospitals or other government facilities to remove such devices by July 1, 2017, if they are currently in use. Public hospitals do have an exception if the device is necessary to protect the health and safety of a patient during treatment.

The bill also nullifies any municipal ordinance that allows such devices.

The Iowa ACLU approached the legislature to address this issue when a patron at the Iowa City Public Library discovered a video recording device in the public restroom earlier this year. The Iowa City Public Library in 2005 had installed a video recording device in the common area of their public restrooms in response to an incident at the Des Moines Public Library.

“A registered sex offender grabbed and kidnapped a 20-month-old toddler and sexually assaulted her in the men’s room after he had locked the door. This caused my public library board to read this news coverage …read more

Source: Caffeinated Thoughts Education