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California governor rejects bills to help men change diapers

California Governor Jerry Brown adjusts his earpiece during a news conference at Memoria y Tolerancia museum in Mexico City July 28, 2014. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido

(Reuters) - California Governor Jerry Brown on Friday vetoed two bills that aimed to make baby diaper changing tables in public restrooms as accessible to men as they are to women.

The bills, which recently passed the state’s senate and assembly chambers with broad support, would have modified existing state laws to ensure public places, such as movie theatres and shopping malls, have baby changing tables in both mens’s and women’s restrooms.

“At a time when so many have raised concerns about the number of regulations in California, I believe it would be more prudent to leave the matter of diaper changing stations to the private sector,” Brown said.

“This may be a good business practice, but not one that I am inclined to legislate,” he added.

One of the bills would have required local and state-owned buildings and public venues to build or renovate at least one bathroom so that both sexes could access a changing table, according to the legislature’s website.

The other would have forced building owners to create an equally accessible changing station whenever constructing a new bathroom or making major renovations to an existing one, the website said.

“I will continue to recognize the growing role of fathers in raising their kids, and celebrate the amazing California dads and their dedication to their children,” said Democratic Senator Ricardo Lara, the sponsor of one of the bills, in a statement.

Reporting by Curtis Skinner in San Francisco, editing by Louise Heavens