TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Among the flurry of bills already filed for March’s legislative session in Tallahassee, Rep. Ashley Gantt (D-Miami) proposed a bill to require Florida courthouses to have lactation spaces.
Gantt, a newly elected representative for Florida’s 109th state House District filed the bill right before the new year. House Bill 87 would make it so each county courthouse in Florida has a space for breastfeeding mothers to have a space, specifically outside of a restroom, to breastfeed or “express breast milk” in private.
As written, “the space must be hygienic, be shielded from public view, be free from intrusion while occupied, and contain an electrical outlet.” Additionally, the bill allows facility operators of district courts of appeal in Florida to use state-appropriated or private funds to create the lactation space.
According to HB 87, the requirements to make a space in the courthouse does not apply if “the person who is responsible for the operation of the courthouse” determines it does not have a lactation space for employees that can be used by the public, and if it does not have a space that can be repurposed for use as a lactation space.
If a space can be made private at a reasonable cost using portable materials, the bill makes it so private funding can be used to cover those costs, or to perform new construction to create a lactation space.
Should HB 87 pass, it would take effect on July 1, with the bill requiring the spaces be set up by Jan. 1, 2024.