POLITICS

Kansas Lawmakers Vote To Allow Women To Breastfeed On House Floor

State Rep. Ponka-We Victors, who proposed the change, stressed the need for "a comfortable environment for a mother who is breastfeeding her baby."
Lawmakers in Kansas on Tuesday voted to permit female lawmakers to breastfeed their children on the House floor.
Lawmakers in Kansas on Tuesday voted to permit female lawmakers to breastfeed their children on the House floor.

Female lawmakers are now allowed to breastfeed on Kansas’ House floor following a vote to amend the House rules on Tuesday.

Rep. Ponka-We Victors, a Wichita Democrat, had proposed the rule change as a means of encouraging inclusivity.

“I feel it is important to update our rules and create a comfortable environment for a mother who is breastfeeding her baby,” Victors told HuffPost in an email.

The change specifically permits “infants or children who are being breastfed by their mother who is a member of legislature.”

The House rules previously only permitted members of the legislature, officers and employees of the legislative branch and people with permits from the House Speaker to enter specific areas of the House chamber, including the House floor.

Rep. Ponka-We Victors, pictured, proposed the change to the House floor rules. She stressed the need to "create a comfor
Rep. Ponka-We Victors, pictured, proposed the change to the House floor rules. She stressed the need to "create a comfortable environment for a mother who is breastfeeding her baby."

Though breastfeeding on the floor had not been banned, lawmakers said that they hope to send a “pro-family” message by permitting it in their rules, the Kansas City Star reported.

At least one lawmaker questioned whether the amendment was necessary, however, since there hadn’t been any issue with breastfeeding lawmakers before.

“I’m just questioning if we need a rule specifically to say it’s OK,” Rep. Susan Humphries, a Wichita Republican, told the Star.

Last year, the U.S. Senate also voted to allow newborns onto the floor during votes in an effort to accommodate senators who need to breastfeed their babies.

Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) was among the first to bring her infant onto the Senate floor to vote shortly after giving birth in April 2018.

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