Auditor Dougall films attack on Utah's trans restroom law in the toilet

John Dougall, Utah state comptroller and candidate for U.S. Congress, criticizes the sponsor of Utah's 2024 transgender bathroom ban, claiming the law is just for show.

(Screenshot) Utah Comptroller and candidate for U.S. Congress John Dougall criticizes the Legislature for making him a “bathroom watchdog” in a video posted on X.

A toilet flush. Then Utah Auditor John Dougall steps out of a cubicle.

“Are you the bathroom attendant?” Dougall asks viewers about a video posted to his campaign account on X-evening. “I actually thought the legislature had appointed me as a toilet attendant.”

The one-minute clip, released on Monday – the first day lawmakers met in interim sessions since the end of this year's session – is the latest in a feud that has erupted between the comptroller and Republican lawmakers since the start of the month Bathroom ban for transgender people came into force.

“We have a law that the sponsor doesn’t seem to really understand,” Dougall says in the video, his voice echoing in the small room. “She implied that I didn’t care about women’s safety in bathrooms – nothing could be further from the truth. And if this bill was actually about making girls safer, don't we think the Legislature could actually spend some money on retrofitting bathrooms and providing more privacy and more security?”

Dougall continues: “Instead it looks like this part of the bill was more about show than substance. But it wouldn’t be the first time the Legislature has done something like this, would it?”

Republican Rep. Kera Birkeland of Morgan's “Sex-based Designations for Privacy, Anti-Bullying and Women's Opportunities” (HB257) changes the legal definitions of “female” and “male” to categorize Utahns by the reproductive organs of their birth, and This limits which toilets and changing rooms transsexuals can use in state-owned buildings.

It requires new construction of state buildings to include single-use “private rooms,” such as bathrooms or showers, and requires existing buildings to “examine the feasibility” of adding them.

The bill did not provide funds for the construction of such spaces. However, a financial release noted that a separate order to Dougall's office to “establish a process for receiving and investigating alleged violations of this chapter by a government agency” would likely cost $20,000.

Within the first few days of the required reporting form going online, Dougall told the Salt Lake Tribune that his office had received thousands of false reports. He posted a statement on the state auditor's website last week calling the Legislature “invasive and overly aggressive.”

Birkeland responded with his own accusations.

“The joke is on these activists,” Birkeland wrote on X on Thursday. “While they waste their time, Utah will continue to protect girls and women.” And I look forward to working with our next state auditor because I know that he will take the role of protecting women seriously.”

Dougall is not running for re-election as state auditor, but is instead vying to succeed Rep. John Curtis in Utah's 3rd Congressional District.

Anna Harden

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