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Bathroom Debate Continues

A Republican lawmaker is making a new - and different - effort in his bid to keep transgendered individuals out of, what he believes, is the wrong restroom. Arizona Public Radio's Howard Fischer reports.

The original proposal by Representative John Kavanagh would have made it a crime for someone to enter a restroom or locker room that did not match the person's gender. That raised all sorts of questions about whether some people might be forced to carry around a birth certificate. But Kavanagh said he remains concerned that a transgendered individual who is anatomically male might try to use the women's restroom - and under a new Phoenix anti-discrimination ordinance, a business owner who blocked it could be cited.

Kavanagh's new version scraps that language and instead offers immunity to business owners who turn away patrons from a specific restroom. "There would be no crime, no penalty," Kavanagh said. "We're simply saying that the store owner has the right to decide what type of restroom, unisexual or one sex only, and has the right to say to somebody, 'You can't go in there' without being locked up by the city of Phoenix and sued by the person denied services."

The change did not alter plans announced this week by a group that hopes to recall Kavanagh, not only because of the legislation it sees as targeting gays and transgendered individuals but also other positions he has taken. Recall backers have 4 months to gather nearly 17,000 signatures to force an election.