Knight’s bill to help traveling mothers passes House

Congressman Steve Knight answers questions about policy from students at College of the Canyons on March 13, 2017. Katharine Lotze/The Signal
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The House of Representatives passed legislation authored by Congressman Steve Knight, R-Palmdale, to maintain a lactation area in airports for mothers to breastfeed their children on Friday.

As the House passed the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018, provisions from H.R. 2375, known as the “Friendly Airports For Mothers Act” were included.

This bill will direct large and medium hub airports to maintain a “lactation area” in each passenger terminal to provide a private and hygienic location for mothers to breastfeed their children. The areas must meet five requirements — they must be shielded from view and free from intrusion from the public; have a door that can be locked; include a place to sit, a table or other flat surface and an electrical outlet; be readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities; and are not located in a restroom.

“Air travel has become an integral part of our everyday lives,” Knight said. “Whether flying for business, leisure, or to visit loved ones, we spend more time than ever in airplanes and airports. Under the status quo, there is an unfair barrier that new mothers face when they want to travel with infant children. This bipartisan bill will help fix this inequity by providing a safe, clean, and private place where moms can take care of their children. I am very pleased we were able to include this in the FAA bill and I look forward to seeing it be signed into law. I would like to thank Senator Duckworth for her continued leadership in advocating for America’s moms. I also want to congratulate her on the birth of her newborn daughter.”

Companion legislation, S.110, was introduced in the Senate by Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Carbondale.

“If airports still have spaces for smoking lounges in 2018, surely we can find clean and accessible spaces to allow new mothers to express breastmilk,” Duckworth said. “I am pleased our bipartisan legislation passed the House and I look forward to continuing my work in the Senate to support women and families at the airport, at home, and in the workplace. I want to thank Congressman Knight for joining me in this effort.”

The Friendly Airports for Mothers Act is endorsed by the U.S. Breastfeeding Coalition, the National Association of County and City Health Officials, the National Military Family Association, the Association of State Public Health Nutritionists, the American College of Nurse-Midwives, the Infant Nutrition Council of America, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Association of Flight Attendants, the Association of Women’s Health and Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses.

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