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House of Representatives
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: December 30, 2014 08:29 AM
From: Representative Tina M. Davis
To: All House members
Subject: Jury Duty Exemption: Breastfeeding Mothers
In the very near future, I plan to re-introduce legislation – House Bill 2210 – that will allow for a jury duty exemption. Specifically, this proposal would amend Title 42 (Judiciary and Judicial Procedure), Section 4503 (Exemptions from jury duty), of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes for the purpose of adding an exemption to allow for deferral of jury duty service for breastfeeding mothers. It is important to note that I used the language in my HB 2210 as an amendment to a similar jury duty exemption bill last session. My amendment passed unanimously with a vote of (198-0).

Public service is a serious responsibility of citizenship, but it places an unfair burden on breastfeeding mothers. While breastfeeding is an ideal source of nutrition for human infants, jury duty requires a mother to be away from her child for an unspecified period of time, which can negatively impact infant attachment and milk production. My proposal allows a breastfeeding mother to provide a certified letter from her physician to the courts stating that she is in fact breastfeeding. The courts may defer the woman’s jury duty for one year, and may extend such deferral for an additional year upon receipt of adequate documentation.

This bill would allow Pennsylvania to follow in the footsteps of California, Connecticut, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, and Virginia that already exempt breastfeeding mothers from jury duty or allow jury service to be postponed. As legislators, I believe it is our responsibility to protect, promote, and support a mother’s fundamental right to breastfeed her children. Please join me in co-sponsoring this legislation.

Introduced as HB370