Gov. DeSantis signs bill requiring lactation spaces in courthouses

‘Skilled people in our workforce (shouldn’t) have to choose between work and being a mother.’

By New Year’s Day, courthouses across the Sunshine State are going to be more hospitable to breastfeeding mothers, thanks to legislation Gov. Ron DeSantis just approved.

The measure (SB 144) will mandate courthouses throughout Florida to provide clean and private lactation spaces, complete with at least one electrical outlet, beginning Jan. 1, 2024.

Private or state-appropriated funding may be used to convert or build the spaces. Courthouses may be exempted from offering the accommodations if doing so requires new construction or it cannot be done at a “reasonable cost.”

Boynton Beach Democratic Sen. Lori Berman, a lawyer, sponsored the bill, which cleared both chambers of the Legislature in March with unanimous, bipartisan support.

Freshman Miami Democratic Rep. Ashley Gantt, a lawyer too, sponsored its twin in the House.

DeSantis quietly signed the measure Wednesday.

The lack of a suitable space for nursing mothers to pump or breastfeed has been an issue the Florida Association for Women Lawyers (FAWL), which offers lactation space grants, has taken up for years.

“A private, safe and hygienic space for women to breastfeed their baby should be available when needed,” Berman said in January, when she and Gantt jointly announced their bills. “I am honored to work with FAWL and look forward to ensuring courthouses are included in the list of safe spaces for women to take care of this maternal need.”

The measure, whose language is similar to that of the federal PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act, which among other things provides for lactation rooms in the workplace and at large and medium-sized airports, received ample support during the committee process.

Advocacy groups that signaled support included the National Association for Women, the Florida Association of Crime Defense Lawyers, the Democratic Women’s Club and the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Justice.

Many of Gantt’s house colleagues also praised the measure on the House floor March 31, including Rep. Angie Nixon, who described having to nurse in a bathroom.

“That’s gross,” she said.

Gantt said she’d heard from new mothers for years about the “horrible experience” they had at court.

“Lactation spaces will provide women (with accommodations) to return to the workforce, and it’s a benefit for all of us across Florida,” she said. “Because we will have skilled people in our workforce who don’t have to choose between work and being a mother.”

Jesse Scheckner

Jesse Scheckner has covered South Florida with a focus on Miami-Dade County since 2012. His work has been recognized by the Hearst Foundation, Society of Professional Journalists, Florida Society of News Editors, Florida MMA Awards and Miami New Times. Email him at Jess[email protected] and follow him on Twitter @JesseScheckner.


  • Dont Say FLA

    May 18, 2023 at 9:41 am

    Good for Rhonda. Yay him. Not sure why boobies are objectified and required to be hidden away during milking, but I guess the establishment of milking hideaways are the most progressive move we could possibly ever hope Gov Rhonda might sign into law

  • Peggy

    May 18, 2023 at 10:03 am

    This seems really WOKE to me!

    • Dont Say FLA

      May 18, 2023 at 1:25 pm

      Rhonda just wants public buildings to have an empty room where he can go fart in peace.

Comments are closed.


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