Kavanagh changes course on 'Bathroom Bill'

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- Facing mounting public criticism, Rep. John Kavanagh said he no longer wants to make it a crime for transgendered people to use the bathroom of the opposite sex.

Now, the Republican says he pushing a law that protects businesses from criminal prosecution and lawsuits if they deny transgendered people from entering the restroom in which they identify with.

This marks a big change from last week when Kavanagh introduced a bill that would have made it a Class 1 misdemeanor for a transgendered person to enter a public restroom that's designated for the opposite sex.  

"I have scrapped that idea; I was criticized because it involved criminalization and more laws and you know what, it's right," Kavanagh said Sunday on 3TV's weekly talk show

The original bill was scheduled for a hearing last Wednesday but was held because of a clerical error. The new version of his bill is expected to be heard this week.

Word of Kavanagh's bill drew nationwide media attention as well as widespread criticism. His proposal came just several weeks after the City of Phoenix extended civil rights protections to gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgendered people.

Opponents of the city’s decision argued it would have allowed transgendered people to use public restrooms, dressing rooms, or locker rooms designated with the sex different from that on your birth certificate.

Under the new version of Kavanagh’s bill, businesses could not be sued for discrimination is they refuse to let transgendered people use the restroom. Likewise, city and towns could not go after businesses block access.