State Sen. Lauren Book doesn’t like the idea of Floridians changing their children’s diapers in the parking lot, so she’s championing a sales tax credit for restaurants if they purchase and install diaper changing stations.
Book, a Plantation Democrat, testified on behalf of SB 236 on Tuesday at the Senate Committee on Commerce and Tourism.
The bill cleared easily with a unanimous yea vote from legislators present.
The bill would provide for a sales tax credit for two diaper stations up to $300 each or the sticker price of the station, whichever is less. The tax credit only applies to two changing stations; any additional stations would not be eligible.
For Book, a mother of twins, the issue is personal. She shared an anecdote with the committee, explaining that it led her to file the bill.
“I was out to dinner with our six-month-old twins,” Book recalled before the committee. “They needed a change.”
But when Book entered the restroom with a diaper bag — “ready to do battle” — she discovered the facility was missing a baby changing table.
Book said she has since noticed the lack of a little one’s latrine is commonplace.
“Unless we’re visiting a large establishment — like a mall or a stadium or a movie theatre — it’s very hard to find changing tables,” Book said.
She acknowledged that the issue doesn’t affect everyone, as not everyone has infant children. But she wants to at least help encourage restaurants to implement changing stations.
By providing a sales tax credit, restaurants would be incentivized to provide changing stations.
Book jokingly quipped that she’s open to the idea of offering more tax credits if restaurants only implemented the stations in male restrooms — leaving the dirty work exclusively up to husbands.