Amid a series of guffaws and blue humor, the Virginia House of Delegates today gave initial approval to a bill one legislator wryly said would end one form of "pay as you go" financing in Virginia.
By an overwhelming voice vote, the House approved a measure sponsored by Del. David G. Brickley (D-Prince William) that would require at least one free toilet for each sex in restrooms at most of the state's transportation terminals and public theaters.
"This is what you might call 'a relief bill,'" Brickley told the House today as his bill was approved on a voice vote. The bill is an amended version of legislation he offered earlier this year to ban pay toilets throughout the state, a measure he said encountered opposition in a House committee from merchants and pay toilet concessionaires.
"Actually this is one bill that deviates from Virginia's long-standing pay-as-you-go policy that you can vote for," he told his fellow legislators as they burst into laughter over the bill. Del. Robert R. Gwathmey (D-Hanover), a usually sedate committee chairman, immediately leaped to his feet, offering to amend the bill as an "emergency" measure.
Assuming its passage on final reading Tuesday, the bill will be sent to the State Senate.
It will affect most bus and airport terminals, as well as public entertainment facilities, but it won't affect the place that gave Brickley the idea, Dulles International Airport near Washington. Since both Dulles and Washington National Airport are owned by the federal government, neither will be affected by the proposal, Brickley said.