As longtime supporters of women, children, and families, Senator Lori Berman, (D-Boca Raton) and Representative Ashley Gantt (D-Miami) filed joint, common-sense legislation to create a “lactation space” for nursing mothers in all county courthouses.
SB 144 and HB 87 require each Florida county courthouse to have a dedicated lactation space. The space must be private, clean, and accessible for mothers to nurse or pump breastmilk, and must be available for all courthouse patrons, including attorneys, jurors, and courthouse staff. By providing breastfeeding mothers a clean and safe space, lactation spaces remove a barrier for women returning to the workplace, serving the public as jurors, attending legal proceedings, and accessing courthouse services.
For several years, the Florida Association for Women Lawyers has worked to promote lactation space legislation. “Women across the State, both lawyers and non-lawyers, stand to benefit greatly from the passage of this legislation. It ensures that nursing mothers will finally be able to fully participate in judicial proceedings without having to sacrifice their privacy or personal family choices,” said FAWL President, Donna Eng.
SB 144 and HB 87 are in line with recent federal legislation. Most recently in December 2022, Congress passed the PUMP For Nursing Mothers Act with strong, bipartisan support, providing lactation spaces in the workplace. This act further expanded on the Federal Fairness of Breastfeeding Mothers Act of 2019, providing for lactation spaces in Federal Courthouses.
Senator Berman sees this legislation as an investment in the health and welfare of Florida’s working families that recognizes the economic impact and contribution of working mothers. “A private, safe and hygienic space for women to breastfeed their baby should be available when needed. I am honored to work with FAWL, and look forward to ensuring courthouses are included in the list of safe spaces for women to take care of this maternal need,” said Senator Berman.
Representative Gantt is honored to partner with FAWL to support parents and families with this important legislation. Representative Gantt remarked, “As we continue to see the makeup of families evolve, it is important to have a private, hygienic, and welcoming space for mothers and caregivers to breastfeed and pump for their baby. A special aspect about this policy, is that women who pump to donate their milk for families in need will also have a welcoming space to use.” A progressive society is often recognized by the way we support our most vulnerable citizens, namely our children and elderly. This legislation is an effort to empower families to make personal decisions about childcare with the ability to have supportive options for working mothers.