Washington lawmaker proposes bill excluding breastfeeding moms from jury duty

A bill in the Washington legislature would exempt breastfeeding moms from jury duty

OLYMPIA, Wash. — If passed by the Washington legislature, a law would exempt breastfeeding women from serving on jury duty.

Whatcom County Rep. Sharon Shewmake and Seattle Rep. Gerry Pollett proposed House Bill 2961, which adds breastfeeding moms to the list of people who can be excluded from jury duty. Already on the list are people who can show undue hardship, extreme inconvenience or public necessity.

There is an exception, though. If the court provides a designated private space for women to breastfeed or pump, they’re not allowed to be excluded.

Many other states have laws on the books excluding breastfeeding moms from jury duty. Idaho, for example, allows women to postpone their service, but they have to write a statement to the jury commissioner and provide a date in the future that they could serve. They may also be required to provide a note from their doctor.

The bill had its first reading Monday and was referred to the Civil Rights and Judiciary Committee.