COLUMBUS -- Women who are breastfeeding babies could be excused from jury duty, under legislation being considered in the Ohio House.
HB 13 was offered by Rep. Anne Gonzales (D-Westerville) after hearing from a constituent who was picked for a jury despite needing to pump needed supplies for her newborn during the proceedings.
"The commissioner tried to accommodate her need to pump, but she was provided a coat closet, which offered little privacy for her," Gonzales said in testimony submitted to the Ohio House's Government Accountability and Oversight Committee Wednesday, where the bill was up for its first hearing.
Existing law already provides a way for residents dealing "undue or extreme physical or financial hardship" to be excused from jury service, according to an analysis by the state's Legislative Service Commission.
HB 13 would expand those circumstances to include mothers who are breastfeeding babies. In her submitted testimony, Gonzales said close to 20 other states provide comparable reprieves for nursing mothers.
"This is a simple solution to the problem my constituent faced, and I would ask for your support of this legislation," she said in her testimony.
Marc Kovac covers the Ohio Statehouse for Gatehouse Media. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at OhioCapitalBlog.