(TRENTON) – An Assembly panel on Monday approved legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats John Wisniewski, Sheila Oliver, Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Angela McKnight, Mila Jasey, Pintor Marin and Blonnie Watson to require that lactation rooms be made available at certain PANYNJ airports.
“Airports throughout the country are recognizing the needs of nursing mothers,” said Wisniewski (D-Middlesex). “In New Jersey airports, where we are able to, we must also ensure mothers have access to a private, secure lactation rooms to use while traveling.”
The bill (A-5150) requires the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (Port Authority) to provide a lactation room at all airports maintained or operated by the Port Authority that have 1,000,000 or more enplanements per year. Airports are maintained or operated by the Port Authority that have fewer than 1,000,000 but more than 10,000 enplanements per year are required to provide lactation rooms upon the completion of construction of a new passenger terminal or the replacement, expansion or renovation of an existing passenger terminal.
“For nursing mothers, a private room that fits their needs, especially in an airport, is crucial to have in this modern age,” said Oliver (D-Essex). “Many airports are saying they are ‘breast-feeding friendly.’ This bill helps to ensure that New Jersey airports really are prepared for nursing moms.”
“It’s hard for mothers to find a place where they can be undisturbed and have access to the things they require while nursing,” said Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen). “It’s especially difficult to manage while traveling. Ensuring our airports are prepared for traveling, nursing moms will be essential to families.”
“Mothers who travel for work and are nursing have a difficult time finding a place in an airport to handle their breast-feeding duties,” said McKnight (D-Hudson). “Our airports must be more prepared to accommodate breast feeding moms.”
“Most standard bathrooms and family restrooms are not equipped or sanitized properly for a nursing mother,” said Jasey (D- Essex, Morris). “Nursing mothers need a safe, clean environment.”
“The lack of a private space while traveling through an airport is a major obstacle for nursing moms,” said Pintor Marin (D- Essex). “We can change that in New Jersey by ensuring airports provide a designated safe space for nursing moms.”
“Many airports are making the effort but may not be meeting the minimum requirements,” said Watson (D-Essex). “This bill ensures a ‘breast feeding-friendly’ environment at our airports and removes a needless obstacle for nursing moms. Nursing mothers should not have to use a bathroom stall for breastfeeding or expressing.”
All lactation rooms are required to include, at minimum, a chair and an electrical outlet and be located outside of the confines of a public restroom. Lactation rooms that are provided following the completion of construction of a new passenger terminal, or the replacement, expansion or renovation of an existing passenger terminal are required to include a sink.
The bill was released by the Assembly Transportation and Independent Authorities Committee. It will now to the Assembly Speaker for further consideration.