COLLINSVILLE, Ill. – To ensure that state government is accessible to all women, state Rep. Katie Stuart, D-Edwardsville, introduced new legislation to provide private lactation spaces for nursing moms inside the state Capitol. There are currently no designated lactation rooms in the Capitol complex for legislators, lobbyists, staff members or visitors.
“My legislation is one step to ensuring that all women, whether they are working in the Capitol or visiting, will have access to an appropriate, private space to nurse or pump in our State Capitol, the Stratton Office Building and the Howlett building,” said Stuart. “The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breast-feeding for at least the first year, but many women face barriers that prevent them from following the guidelines. This legislation will remove one of the most common barriers, lack of an adequate lactation space, for women.”
Stuart first learned of this issue at a Coffee with Cool Women event on the SIUE campus. The bill, HB 1042, was approved by the House Human Services Committee last week and is awaiting action by the full House.
“Over the years, study after study has confirmed that “breast is best” when it comes to feeding infants,” continued Stuart. “Most private employers have taken it upon themselves to provide appropriate places for nursing mothers, and we need to make sure we do the same for women who work at and visit the Capitol. I hope to see similar measures in place to make sure that women can pump and nurse in the places they visit each and every day.”