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Thursday, March 15, 2007It's been a busy week in the world of breastfeeding bills and legislation. You can check out an update on the Pennsylvania breastfeeding legislation that I posted earlier and you can get a quick summary of what's going on in New Mexico, Arkansas and West Virginia in this post.
HB 613 was signed into law yesterday in New Mexico. The bill was designed to help support working mothers by making sure employers provide a clean and private location that is NOT a bathroom (woo hoo!) to express milk and the flexible break time to get the job done. The bill does not require companies to provide a location to store the mother's milk nor does it require her to be paid for the time she takes to pump. The law goes into effect in 90 days.
House Bill 2411 which was introduced by Rep. Pam Adcock is designed to exempt breastfeeding from the state's indecent exposure laws. The bill has not yet passed but is moving through legislation. Arkansas currently has no breastfeeding related laws on the books. Unfortunately this is a very toned down version of the original bill which would have given a woman asked to stop breastfeeding in public cause to take action against the individual or business that asked her to stop. That part of the bill was removed when it went through committee.
Despite claims that he has "no problem" with a bill that would exempt breastfeeding from West Virginia's indecent exposure laws, West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin vetoed the bill claiming that it conflicted with another bill addressing indecent exposure. That marks the third time in three years that the bill has failed to pass. The bill also provided for an exemption from jury duty for breastfeeding mothers.