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 http://wapp.legislature.state.tn.us/apps/videowrapper/default.aspx?CommID=28
Also, here is a link to an article covering the Senate committee meeting: http://blogs.knoxnews.com/humphrey/2011/03/senate-committee-lifts-age-lim.html