What is Ally’s Law in Texas, and what happens if someone violates it?

AbeSnap23/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Dallas police are facing criticism after two off-duty officers denied a disabled veteran emergency access to a restroom in Deep Ellum while working security, then later laughed with two on-duty officers about the man wetting himself.

The exchange between the off-duty and on-duty officers was captured on body cameras, and it’s led to questions about whether the police working security for the Deep Ellum pizza restaurant violated Texas’ lesser-known Ally’s Law.

What is Ally’s Law?

The law guarantees that people with provable medical conditions that create an emergency need to use bathroom facilities can’t be denied access, even if the restrooms are not technically public.

Individuals with Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome or “any other permanent or temporary medical condition that requires immediate access to a toilet facility” are protected under the Texas law.

The law requires that a business with three or more employees working on the premises at a time grant restroom access to anybody who qualifies under the law. Qualifications can be proven with a signed doctor’s note or an official ID card.

The law requires anybody who is granted restroom access under Ally’s Law to leave it in the same condition as when they entered.

The penalty for violating Ally’s Law in Texas

Violating Ally’s Law in Texas is a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $100. Under the law, the person responsible for the violation is any employee who denies access.