Kansas lawmakers approve change to allow breastfeeding on House floor

Female lawmakers will now be able to breastfeed on the Kansas state House floor thanks to a rules change passed Tuesday.

The change was approved by a voice vote with only a few lawmakers voting no, according to the Kansas City Star.

“I think the rules should reflect and be updated to the makeup of the House,” Rep. Ponka-We Victors, a Democrat, said.

Earlier this year, the Kansas Capitol added a new, private lactation room for mothers. Gov. Laura Kelly said her administration planned to look into adding additional places for breastfeeding in other state buildings as well, the Topeka Capital-Journal reported.

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“All I really want to say is, it’s about time,” the Democratic governor said. “What I would like to do as we move forward is that in every policy that we make and in every regulation that we pass, that we consider the impact on working families, particularly mothers.”

“What I would like to do as we move forward is that in every policy that we make and in every regulation that we pass, that we consider the impact on working families, particularly mothers.”

— Gov. Laura Kelly

“It’s been estimated that improved breastfeeding rates in Kansas could save our state over $26 million in medical costs,” GOP state Rep. Don Hineman said at the time. “That’s significant. So it’s something that we can be behind and support.”

The U.S. Senate last year changed its rules to allow female lawmakers to bring babies on the floor and breastfeed them if need be. The change was championed by Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., who brought her infant daughter onto the Senate floor to vote.

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Duckworth praised her colleagues for “helping bring the Senate into the 21st century by recognizing that sometimes new parents also have responsibilities at work.”