Protecting Breastfeeding: Texas HB243
I recently sat down with Texas Representative Jessica Farrar (D-Houston, District 148) to discuss Texas House Bill 243.
To summarize, the bill basically acknowledges that breastfeeding is an important and basic act of nurture that must be encouraged in the interests of maternal and child health. It gives a mother the right to breastfeed in any location and allows her to bring a civil action against any party who allegedly violates her right to breastfeed. The bill assigns a daily penalty of $500, for each day the violation occurs.
What I personally find so appealing about this bill, is the specific penalty. Currently, though there are breastfeeding laws in place for both public feeding and workplace requirements, there is no specific fine for violations. If, for example, an employer is currently in violation of the law, the employee can sue – and employees are indeed suing. In fact, breastfeeding-related lawsuits are up 800%!! The most notable recent case involved a former KFC employee who was awarded $1.5 million. However, lawsuits are messy and expensive. And what if you like your job (or at least need to keep your job) and all you really want is for your employer to follow through on their obligations without you having to take them to court? Assigning specific penalties would be a step in the right direction.
I strongly encourage you to read the full bill here (it’s not long, I promise!), contact your representative and ask them to support this bill, and then spread the word!
Here’s an easy way to find out who your rep is: https://wrm.capitol.texas.gov/home
More resources for breastfeeding laws: