Public Interest

Florida Courthouses Comply with New Law, Mandating Lactation Spaces
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In a significant move towards supporting working mothers, Republican Florida Governor Ron DeSantis recently signed a bill mandating private, clean lactation rooms in county courthouses across the state. The new law, set to take effect at the beginning of 2024, aims to provide breastfeeding mothers with a comfortable and convenient space to nurse or express milk while carrying out their legal duties. This development has been widely praised by advocates of women’s rights and equality in the workplace.

The bill, which was sponsored by Florida Democrats and lawyers State Sen. Lori Berman and State Rep. Ashley Gantt, represents a milestone in ensuring the well-being of working mothers in the legal system. The legislation specifically requires county courthouses to have dedicated lactation rooms equipped with at least one electrical outlet. However, certain exceptions may apply when constructing lactation rooms involves substantial new construction or if the associated costs are deemed unreasonable.

The Florida Association for Women Lawyers has been a vocal proponent of establishing dedicated lactation spaces in courthouses. The organization believes such provisions are crucial in creating an inclusive and supportive environment for women in the legal profession. With the enactment of this new law, the Florida Bar News reports that the Association’s advocacy efforts have seen positive results.

  
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Deborah Baker, an attorney at Greenspoon Marder, has been actively pushing for the establishment of lactation rooms in courthouses. Her persistent efforts led to opening a lactation room in the Miami-Dade County Courthouse in 2016. Baker expressed her enthusiasm upon hearing the news of Florida’s lactation room requirement, emphasizing the significance of implementing measures that truly support gender equality and provide women with equal opportunities in the workforce.

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The introduction of lactation spaces in courthouses aligns with the growing recognition of the importance of maternal health and breastfeeding support. These dedicated areas offer a discreet and hygienic setting for nursing or expressing milk, allowing working mothers to fulfill their professional responsibilities while prioritizing the needs of their infants. The availability of private lactation rooms with electrical outlets ensures that breastfeeding mothers have access to the necessary facilities for storing and preparing breast milk.

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With the new law in place, Florida joins a number of states that have enacted similar measures to promote workplace lactation support. Florida demonstrates its commitment to creating a more inclusive and family-friendly legal environment by mandating lactation spaces in courthouses. These facilities not only facilitate the retention of talented women in the legal profession but also send a powerful message about the value of supporting working mothers in all industries.

As the implementation date approaches, county courthouses across Florida are expected to make the necessary adjustments to comply with the lactation room requirement. This development marks a significant step forward in promoting gender equity and recognizing the importance of accommodating the needs of breastfeeding mothers in the workplace.



The recent bill signed by Governor Ron DeSantis paves the way for county courthouses in Florida to provide private, clean lactation rooms equipped with electrical outlets. Spearheaded by Florida Democrats who are lawyers, this legislation reflects a commitment to supporting women in the legal profession and ensuring equal opportunities for working mothers. With the enactment of this law, Florida is set to create a more inclusive and supportive environment within its courthouses, furthering the progress towards gender equality and women’s rights.



 

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