Thursday, March 24, 2011

We Passed the Senate!

Just a few minutes ago, SB0083 passed the Senate with no opposition! As a matter of fact, both Sen. Beverly Marrero and Sen. Brian Kelsey both commended Sen. Faulk on sponsoring the bill. Sen. Marrero mentioned that a pediatrician in her district had called to ask for her support of the bill. Sen. Kelsey went so far as to sign on as a co-sponsor before the vote was taken.

This is excellent news! The next step will be for HB0871 bill to be heard on the House floor, which will be next Thursday, March 31st. On another positive note, I saw this morning that six other representatives had signed on as co-sponsors, which shows that the bill has a good bit of support.

The video from today's Senate session can be seen at this link:

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Now the Senate

I saw this morning that SB 0083 was placed on the calendar to be heard tomorrow, March 24, on the Senate floor. This means that all the senators from across the state will hear the bill and vote on it. The Senate session is scheduled to begin at 9:00 a.m., but it may be a little while before they get to the bill.

I plan to watch the proceedings, and if you would like to as well, you can do so by going to this link and clicking on the video icon under "View Video":

If you haven't already contacted your senator to ask for his/her support of SB 0083, you can still do so. Here is a link for their contact information:

If the bill is not passed in the Senate, then it will be dead for this year. Here's hoping it passes!

UPDATE: It looks as though HB 0871 is set to be heard in the House Calendar and Rules Committee tomorrow as well. That means they will set a date for the bill to be heard on the House floor.

Hopefully I'll have some good updates tomorrow!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Great News!

Today SB0083 and HB0871 passed the Senate and House health committees! This is wonderful!

The Senate General Welfare Committee met first today and there was considerable discussion about the age limit. Sen. Faulk had brought in Dr. Julie Ware, a pediatrician from Memphis, who provided the committee with a packet of information on breastfeeding that included studies and statistics to support the bill. Dr. Ware testified on the benefits of breastfeeding and of the bill.

The discussion on the age limit was the typical thing I have heard before; "What about breastfeeding a 5-year-old in public? That's not normal!" But Sen. Faulk fought for his position and told the committee that an age limit was arbitrary and the state of Tennessee doesn't have the right to say how long a woman should breastfeed her child.

It was quite a discussion, but ultimately the bill passed out of the committee and is now scheduled for the Senate Calendar Committee, who will decide when the bill will be heard before the full Senate.

In the House Health Committee, HB0871 was heard early this afternoon. Rep. Brooks also had Dr. Ware speak to this committee on the benefits of breastfeeding and on the House bill.

There was not much discussion on the bill in the House committee, although Rep. Jeanne Richardson did compliment Rep. Brooks on sponsoring the bill.

The bill passed the House Health Committee and is now set for the House Calendar Committee.

If you would like to watch video of the proceedings, click on this link and select the committee you want to see from the menu on the left-hand side.

Also, here is a link to an article covering the Senate committee meeting:

Monday, March 14, 2011

House Health Committee

As reported in the last post, both the House bill and the Senate bill are scheduled to be heard before the health committees on Wednesday, March 16th. As promised, below is the list of the members of the House Health and Human Resources Committee if you would like to contact them:

Rep. Scotty Campbell -
Rep. Vance Dennis -
Rep. Jeanne Richardson -
Rep. Cameron Sexton -
Rep. Mike Sparks -
Rep. Ryan Williams -
Rep. Joe Armstrong -
Rep. Glen Casada -
Rep. Joshua Evans -
Rep. JoAnne Favors -
Rep. Curtis Halford -
Rep. Mike Harrison -
Rep. Joey Hensley -
Rep. Matthew Hill -
Rep. Gary Odom -
Rep. Mary Pruitt -
Rep. Bob Ramsey -
Rep. David Shepard -
Rep. Mike Turner -
Rep. Mark White -

The first six members listed are not on the subcommittee that passed the bill last week, so they may or may not be familiar with the legislation. I plan on contacting only those six members because I sent an e-mail to the subcommittee members last week.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Over the First Hurdle

I am happy to report that the House bill has made it over the first of six hurdles. On Tuesday, the House General Subcommittee of Health & Human Resources passed HB0871 with no questions or discussion. This is great!

The next two hurdles come on Wednesday, March 16 (next week). HB0871, which just passed the subcommittee, will be heard by the full House Health & Human Resources Committee on Wednesday.

Also on Wednesday, SB0083 will be heard by the Senate General Welfare, Health & Human Resources Committee.

If you would like to contact the members of the Senate General Welfare Committee their names and e-mail addresses are listed at the bottom. Tell them that you support SB0083 and would like them to do support it as well.

I'll list the members of the
House Health & Human Resources Committee in my next post.

Sen. Rusty Crowe -
Sen. Bo Watson -
Sen. Kerry Roberts -
Sen. Stacey Campfield -
Sen. Ophelia Ford -
Sen. Douglas Henry -
Sen. Roy Herron -
Sen. Randy McNally -
Sen. Doug Overbey -

Friday, March 4, 2011


For those unfamiliar with Tennessee's breastfeeding laws, here is what they say:

Currently, Tennessee law permits a mother breastfeed her child who is twelve (12) months of age or younger in any location, public or private, where the mother and child are otherwise authorized to be present; specifies that the act of breastfeeding shall not be considered public indecency or nudity, obscene, or sexual conduct; and states that local governments shall not prohibit breastfeeding in public by local ordinance (T.C.A. 68-58-101; T.C.A. 68-58-102; T.C.A. 68-58-103).

At this time, Tennessee is the only state with an age limit
for nursing in public. Since the middle of 2010, a few mothers have been e-mailing and contacting members of Tennessee's General Assembly in order to have the law amended.

In January, SB0083/HB0871 was introduced that would eliminate the 12-month age restriction. Since the bill was introduced, we have been asking people to contact their legislators to ask for their support and have gotten good results. According to one of the bill's sponsors, Sen. Mike Faulk, there has been little negative feedback on the bill.

If you would like to contact your legislator, you can find his or her contact information on the General Assembly's web site at

I'm Just a Bill

Welcome to the blog for SB0083/HB0871, which deletes the age limitation in the law permitting mothers to publicly breastfeed their children who are ages 12 months or younger.

Because many people may not be aware of the long and complicated process of how a bill becomes a law, below is the old Schoolhouse Rock clip explaining the federal process. The state process is the same, except it will be our governor who will sign or veto a passed bill.

Our next post will give a history of the current law and legislation.