Senate committee OKs breastfeeding bill

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(Photo by NINA RYDALCH) Rep. Paul Amador, R-Couer d’Alene, holds his son, Peter, during a Monday hearing of his bill that would offer the first legal protection for breastfeeding mothers in the state.

BOISE — The Idaho bill stating breastfeeding is neither indecent exposure nor obscene passed a Senate panel Monday.

If made into law, House Bill 448, drafted by Rep. Paul Amador, R-Couer d’Alene, would be the first legal protection for breastfeeding mothers in the state, with the exception of a law that allows breastfeeding moms to be exempted from jury duty.

Idaho is the only state currently without protections for mothers who breastfeed.

Amador brought his infant son Peter Amador to the committee, and said Peter was the “genesis of the bill.”

“It was interesting, in the house committee there were some questions about, ‘is this some secret agenda of public exhibitionists?’” Amador told the Senate Judiciary and Rules Committee.

“And I said ‘no, this right here, (Peter), is why we’re before you today and just ensuring that women and families and children are a priority in the state of Idaho.’”

As Amador spoke, Peter reached out and grabbed the microphone, causing onlookers and committee members to laugh.

“He wants to speak,” said Committee Chair Sen. Patti Anne Lodge.

Sen. Lori Den Hartog, R-Meridian, testified the bill would provide “minimal” protection, but said it is “an important step.”

Sen. Tony Potts, R-Idaho Falls, voiced his support of the bill, saying he hopes women will “use good discretion” when it comes to breastfeeding.

“I don’t see how we can necessarily disagree with this (bill),” Potts said.

The vote to send the bill to the Senate with a do-pass recommendation was unanimous.

Nina Rydalch covers the 2018 Idaho Legislature for the University of Idaho McClure Center for Public Policy Research.

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