EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – A public event planned this weekend for one Metro East lawmakers has been postponed due to violent threats and misinformation.
State Rep. Katie Stuart (D-Edwardsville) was planning to hold a constituent coffee event Saturday in Collinsville. A spokesperson for Stuart’s office tells FOX 2 that special interest groups made threats and spreaded “malicious false misinformation” about bathroom privacy and safety legislation.
Stuart says critics are spreading misinformation about Illinois House Bill 1286, which would allow Illinois businesses to have multi-stall, gender-neutral bathrooms. Stuart and her office have learned of several violent threats in recent days.
“We’ve seen how hateful misinformation just like what is now flooding into our community can result in real violence, and I will not put my staff and my constituents in harm’s way,” Stuart said. “I want to be very clear: Out-of-touch special interests are manufacturing controversy where none should be. These actions are inciting violence, and now preventing people from peacefully participating in our democracy. I will reschedule this event when it is safe to do so, and will continue to confront misinformation with truth.”
The postponement comes as Illinois police warn of an increase in “domestic violent extremist messaging.” Some around Illinois interpret this Saturday as “National Day of Hate,” and police are reminding people to stay vigilant this weekend.
Stuart’s bill does not require gender-neutral bathrooms, but it would provide protections for building developers that opt for such bathrooms. Those who plan on gender-neutral bathrooms would be required to meet appropriate standards for toilet and urinal privacy.
“This bill is about ensuring all bathrooms are private, hygienic, and functional facilities – and if using a bathroom in peace and privacy doesn’t sound like it should be controversial, that’s because the only controversy is one fabricated by the same out-of-touch extremists who have tried time and time again to mislead people for their own political gain,” Stuart said. “The fact is, some developers are choosing to offer bathrooms without a designated gender. It’s also a fact that if they choose to do that, they’ll need to consider privacy, safety, and functionality of these facilities. It’s time for people spreading misinformation and fear to deal in facts instead of lies.”
Stuart’s office did not disclose if or when the event might be rescheduled.