I'm Naya

Mama & wife. Breastfeeding advocate & lactation educator. IBCLC in training & wannabe fashionista. I write about breastfeeding, motherhood, and breastfeeding style. 

Texas HB 1706: How You Can Help

Texas House Bill 1706 provides enforcement for current NIP laws and is scheduled for public hearing on March 12. Members in charge of the grassroots effort to support this bill have a Facebook group with examples of letters and contact info for the representatives involved.

They need letters from all breastfeeding organizations in Texas and other Texas pertinent groups in support of this bill. They also need to document as many NIP incidents as possible to demonstrate a need for an enforcement provision.



Nursing in public incidents can be sent to USBFLeg at gmail.com.


If you are a supporter of breastfeeding and you live in Texas, you can write a letter to your representative or to the members of the Business and Industry Committee. Please click here for examples of letters from individuals, click here for an example letter from an organization, or click here for Business & Industry committee contact info or scroll to the bottom for an example letter.
 
Keep your letters cordial and polite, short and sweet, and personalize them with your NIP experiences or fears. Be sure to introduce yourself as a constituent of your district. Example letters are below: first are example lettes from individuals, followed by example letters from organizations. Please click here or scroll to the bottom if you need an example letter from an organization. If you are looking for the where to email your letter, please click here or scroll to the bottom.

Example #1 - From an Individual


Hello Rep. _____,

I hope this email finds you well. As a resident of _______, I’m writing to ask for your support of House Bill 1706 sponsored by Rep. Farrar and Rep. King, and House Bill 741, sponsored by Rep. Walle and Rep. Hernandez Luna. Currently Texas law states "A mother is entitled to breast-feed her baby in any location in which the mother is authorized to be." However, this merely asserts her right. It does not protect her right, as there is currently no enforcement provision. Mothers are frequently discriminated against for feeding their children while they are out supporting the economy by shopping for their families and eating in restaurants. Fear of this discrimination prevents many mothers from choosing optimal nutrition for their babies as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the World Health Organization, and others. HB 1706 will not only serve mothers and babies, it will inform businesses of the law and allow them to avoid the negative media attention that sometimes follows an incident where an ill-informed employee humiliates a mother who is trying only to feed her child.

In addition, House Bill 741 would extend worksite pumping protections to salaried public employees. Currently, state employees like teachers are often forced to choose between providing breastmilk for their babies or keeping their jobs. HB 741 would give these working mothers the same protection that is already afforded to hourly workers under federal law: reasonable accommodations for pumping milk for babies up to a year old.

As a breastfeeding mom and an advocate for mothers and children, I urge you to support this legislation as we take this to a new level and truly protect a woman’s right to breastfeed. HB 1706 has already received media coverage from Dallas Observer, Houston Press, The Spring Observer, and The Stir (links below). I would love the opportunity to meet with you to discuss this public health issue. Thank you for your time!

Sincerely,
____________
___Contact Info____

http://tinyurl.com/hb1706dallasobserver
http://tinyurl.com/hb1706houstonpress
http://tinyurl.com/hb1706springobserver
http://tinyurl.com/hb1706cafemom


Example #2 - From an Individual

Hello Representative _______,

I am a breastfeeding mother living in __________, and it has come to my attention that House Bills 1706 and 741, sponsored by Representatives Farrar and King, and Walle and Hernandez Luna, respectively, are pending in committee. I ask that you support them. Under the current law, a woman has the right to breastfeed in any location that she has permission to be. However, because there are currently no consequences for disturbing a breastfeeding mother, this law is often violated. Additionally, federal law requires that working mothers paid on an hourly basis receive reasonable breaks for pumping and a space to do it in, but there is no protection like this for salaried public employees such as teachers.

I ask that you help us to support these pieces of legislation so that we can give our children the best possible nutrition without fear of harassment; so mothers won't be forced to choose between their babies and their jobs. This topic has received media coverage from The Dallas Observer, The Spring Observer, and Houston Press, and The Stir (see links below). I would appreciate an opportunity to meet with you to discuss this public health issue. Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,
_______________
___Contact Info____

http://tinyurl.com/hb1706dallasobserver
http://tinyurl.com/hb1706houstonpress
http://tinyurl.com/hb1706springobserver
http://tinyurl.com/hb1706cafemom


Example #3 - From an Individual

Hello Rep. ______ ,
I hope this email finds you well. I am a mother who resides in the State of Texas and I am writing to ask for your support for House Bill 1706, sponsored by Rep. Farrar and Rep. King. Texas law already recognizes breastfeeding as the best method of infant nutrition and entitles a mother to breastfeed her baby in any location in which the mother is authorized to be; however she is not truly protected because there is no enforcement of that law and is thus at risk of being bullied.
Breastmilk is the ideal food for newborns and infants. It gives infants all the nutrients they need for healthy development. It is safe and contains antibodies that help protect infants from common childhood illnesses - such as diarrhea and pneumonia, the two primary causes of child mortality worldwide. Breastmilk is readily available and affordable, which helps to ensure that infants get adequate sustenance (World Health Organization, 2012).
As a breastfeeding mom and advocate for mothers and children, I urge you to support this legislation to better protect a woman’s right to breastfeed. I would welcome the chance to meet with you to further discuss the importance of community support and breastfeeding!
Thank you for your time and support,
______________________
___Contact Info____

Example #4 - From an Individual

Dear Rep. __________,
I'm a new mother in ______, TX, and I breastfeed my baby. Currently, state law asserts that I have the right to nurse my baby anywhere that I am authorized to be... but that hasn't stopped people from asking me to move to a private area when I breastfeed my ______, or telling me that I need to cover up with a blanket (even though I take care not to expose myself).
Other Texas women have been harassed even more harshly than I, have been humiliated publicly, and have been banished from public places, all for giving their babies the very best food available: breastmilk. This has caused many of my friends to avoid nursing in public at all costs, which incidentally has a side effect of depriving local businesses of potential customers.
HB 1706 would amend the law to create a private right of action as a recourse for mothers who are discriminated against or harassed for nursing in any public place where they are already allowed to be. Please support this bill, and support Texas mothers.
Thank you,
__________ and son/daughter __________ (___ months)
___Contact Info____

Example #5 - From an Individual

Hello Rep ____,
I am a constituent of your district ___ and breastfed/am breastfeeding my child(ren). I’m writing to ask your support for House Bill 1706, sponsored by Rep. Farrar and Rep. King. Texas law already recognizes breastfeeding as the best method of infant nutrition and entitles a mother to breastfeed her baby in any location in which the mother is authorized to be; however she is not truly protected because there is no enforcement of that law, leaving her at risk of being bullied.
Mothers like me are frequently discriminated against for feeding their children in public. This happens at malls, restaurants, and parks across the state. [optional: insert your NIP incident here] The fear of being belittled by another person can be enough motivation for some moms not to breastfeed, despite recommendations from some of the biggest health organizations in the world including the AAP and WHO. The benefits of breastfeeding are well known, but a nervous new mom may choose not to breastfeed to avoid potential public ridicule.
HB 1706 will not only serve mothers and babies, it will ensure that businesses and their employees are up to date on what the law protects. As a breastfeeding mom and advocate for mothers and children, I urge you to support this legislation as we strive to truly protect a woman’s right to breastfeed.
Thank you for your time and support,
______________________
___Contact Info____



 
Letters from organizations should begin with an introduction of your group. They should talk about health benefits of BF, how you support BF, and HB 1706. Letters from a mom should be personalized from the mom's point of view, but these letters should be personalized from the organization's view. Letters should be polite, of course (not antagonistic or accusing). These letters can be more lengthy than the 2 paragraph max for letters from individuals (but still somewhat brief). Include contact information with the signature. See sample letter below.

Please include a contact name, physical address, zip code, and phone number(s) to receive a reply (make clear that you represent constituents outside of just your zip code, if that is the case.

Example #6 - from Organization

Hello Rep. ________,

We are the _____________ located in __________, Texas. We ____(serve the community in this way)________. We are asking that you support House Bill 1706, sponsored by Rep. Farrar and Rep. King. Texas law already recognizes breastfeeding as the best method of infant nutrition and entitles a mother to breastfeed her baby in any location in which the mother is authorized to be; however she is not truly protected because there is no enforcement of that law, and she is thus at risk of being harassed.

There is a large push in the state to increase breastfeeding rates through initiatives like Baby-Friendly Hospital designations and Texas Ten Step Star Achiever Breastfeeding Learning Collaborative. Only 13.7% of Texan mothers exclusively breastfeed for the first six months of life as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the World Health Organization, and other leading health organizations. Initiatives like those mentioned call for support from the community to improve breastfeeding rates.

Mothers are frequently discriminated against for feeding their children while they are out supporting the economy as mothers do. Fear of this discrimination prevents many mothers from choosing optimal nutrition for their babies. HB 1706 will not only serve mothers and babies, it will inform businesses of the law and allow them to avoid the negative media attention that sometimes follows an incident where an ill-informed employee humiliates a mother who is trying only to feed her child.

As representatives of many of your constituents, we urge you to support this legislation as we take this to a new level and truly protect a woman’s right to breastfeed. We are available as a resource to you if you would be available to further discuss the importance of community support and breastfeeding!

Best Regards,

____Your Organization____
Organization Contact info

 
Please send letters to the Business & Industry committee members:


1. **Committee Chair** Rep. Rene Oliveira - D - District 37: Rene.Oliveira@house.state.tx.us
2. **Committee Vice Chair** Rep. Dwayne Bohac - R - District 138: dwayne.bohac@house.state.tx.us
3. Rep. Armando Walle - D - District 140: Armando.Walle@house.state.tx.us
4. Rep. Jason Villalba - R - District 114: Jason.Villalba@house.state.tx.us
5. Rep. Rob Orr - R- District 58: Rob.Orr@house.state.tx.us
6. Rep. Eddie Rodriguez - D - District 51: Eddie.Rodriguez@house.state.tx.us
7. Rep. Paul Workman - R - District 47: paul.workman@house.state.tx.us

You can also send letters to your local representative, even if they aren't a part of the Business & Industry Committee. Find your representative here
Please help spread the word. if you are a member of a breastfeeding organization or coalition, medical organization, or know someone who is, please share this information! By working together, we can help enforce current NIP laws in Texas!

The example letters were written by several volunteers in the We Support Texas Breastfeeding Laws With Enforcement Facebook group. Thank you ladies!

Thank You For Nursing in Public

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