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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
In a move that surprised her supporters, Senator Connie Williams gutted her own public breastfeeding bill in the Pennsylvania Senate today by introducing an amendment which strikes the language "protecting the right [to breastfeed]" and replaces it with "permitting a mother the freedom." In all other places in the bill where the word "right" was used, Williams had it struck and replaced it with the word "freedom." The amendment can be viewed here: <a href="http://www.legis.state.pa.us/HaCheck.cfm?txtType=PDF&sYear=2007&sInd=0&body=S&type=B&bn=0034&pn=0893&aYear=2007&an=00703" target="_blank">http://www.legis.state.pa.us/HaCheck...=2007&an=00703</a><br><br>
Williams also amended her own bill to strike the entire section which would have forbidden local governments from passing ordinances prohibiting breastfeeding thus leaving all Pennsylvania women vulnerable to the whim of local governments and allowing local governments to make public breastfeeding illegal.<br><br>
As a result of this amendment, Birth Without Boundaries has withdrawn its support for Senate Bill 34 and will actively oppose it. We encourage all Pennsylvania breastfeeding supporters to express their opinion concerning Senator Williams' action to her and to tell your state senators that Bill 34 is no longer a proposal for a law that would protect the right to breastfeed in public in Pennsylvania. Please see <a href="http://www.birthwithoutboundaries.com" target="_blank">http://www.birthwithoutboundaries.com</a> for more information on the bill and instructions on locating your state senator.<br><br>
No law is better than a bad law. We will work tirelessly in the Pennsylvania House to get a public breastfeeding bill that will truly protect the rights of breastfeeding women and their children, and search for a Pennsylvania state senator to introduce it in the senate.<br><br>
Jake Marcus<br>
Legal Director<br>
Birth Without Boundaries, Int'l
 

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no way....<br><br>
this makes me want to cry...I cant believe this happened...how could she agree to change it so that local governments can prohibit NIP...Im speechless... <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/gloomy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Gloomy">:
 

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I drove four hours from my home to Harrisburg w/ my two children 4 & under in one day for this! I am really, really, mad!!! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/hopmad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hopping mad"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/fencing.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="fencing">: <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/Cuss.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="cuss"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/censored.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="censored"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/splat.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="splat"> Calling her office has been moved to the top of my to-do list for tomorrow!<br><br>
Sus
 

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This sucks! I am at a loss for words. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/gloomy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Gloomy">:
 

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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/irked.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="irked">:<br><br>
So sorry to hear this. All you PA mamas write and call her to tell her how upset you are!!! Bombard her office with calls and emails from as many people as you can contact!
 

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I wrote to her last night. It makes me so mad... I don't understand why the rest of PA can't just follow Philly's lead. Seems so simple. ugh. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/banghead.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="banghead">
 

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wtf?! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/hopmad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hopping mad"><br><br>
As a voting Pennsylvanian, I am calling and emailing her office today. I am disgusted!!!
 

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Hi Jake (it's Mary from Pepper<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink"> ). I am so saddened to hear this. I was really hopeful. I can not believe it! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"><br><br>
I will be calling and writing her! How dare she do this!
 

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I emailed a link to this thread to my sister in PA. She'll be reading this...<br>
She's a producer at WQED; do you all think she should get them to do a piece on this? LOL
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I have heard from the senator's legislative director. According to her, senate republicans believe there are few legal rights in Pennsylvania and do not wish to add breastfeeding to the list. I am sure this lack of legal rights would come as something of a surprise to Pennsylvania citizens.<br><br>
Also, though I have not seen the changes, pro-breastfeeding language has been removed from the bill's preamble because praising the benefits of breastfeeding is seen as offensive to those who do not breastfeed.<br><br>
The mission now needs to be to prevent the passage of this bill and then make sure a bill comes through the House that truly protects the right to breastfeed in public. We can return to the senate with a sponsor who has the nerve for the battle.<br><br>
Let's be sure this thread stays here so let's please not make personal attacks. Let's make phone calls and send e-mails. Our state senators need to know that this bill no longer has our support. A law that does not protect a right is worse than no law at all.<br><br>
Thanks for your support everybody. I am so feeling your pain and outrage.<br><br>
Jake
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
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<div style="font-style:italic;">I emailed a link to this thread to my sister in PA. She'll be reading this...<br>
She's a producer at WQED; do you all think she should get them to do a piece on this? LOL</div>
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Absolutely!<br><br>
Jake
 

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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad">
 

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I am shaking with anger!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I have to calm myself down so I can let the sen. know that her "heroine", Leigh Bellini, is no longer a supporter of her bill.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
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<div style="font-style:italic;">I don't quite know what to say. And I always have <i>something</i> to say, so this is really saying something.<br><br>
I read this update this morning, and I have been mulling it over all day. My emotions have run the gamut from total depression and pessimism to complete and outright rage.<br><br>
First off, I find it insulting and sad that our society is such that we must pass LAWS to protect a mother's right to feed her child and to protect a baby's right to be fed. When it comes down to it, THIS is what we're talking about here. Obviously, I am a vocal supporter of any measure that seeks to protect breastfeeding in public! But when I just step back and think about it, I get irritated that we as a culture have sunk so very low.<br><br>
The Senator's decision to play with semantics in her own legistlation is troubling and disappointing. The "freedom to" and the "right to" are very different things. I was not aware that many of our lawmakers believe that those of us living in the Commonwealth have "few legal rights." And besides that, aren't we talking about something that <i>should</i> be considered a foremost basic right: that of a baby deserving to be fed whereever and whenever she is hungry?<br><br>
I am rambling quite a bit, but I truly cannot wrap my brain around this whole thing: about the disappointing amendment, about the sudden turn-about, about the need for the law in the first place.<br><br>
Thanks so much for your efforts in getting this legislation passed. What can we do next? I feel quite defeated at this point, and I hate that feeling.</div>
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You have actually taken the first step - you have written down how this makes you feel. There is a whole lot of anger and betrayal being felt today and it is legitimate. Let your own senator know you don't want this bill and let Sen. Williams know whether you think she is truly a supporter of women and their children.<br><br>
Jake
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
"I write to inform you that Senate Bill 34, which permits a woman to breastfeed in public, passed the full Senate today by a vote of 48-1.<br><br>
The language included in SB 34 was revised as a result of compromise necessary to have the Republican controlled Senate consider the bill. The amendment does not change the intent of the bill, which is to ensure that women can breastfeed in public; however, I know that there is some disappointment with the amended version.<br><br>
The fact that I was asked to remove the introductory phrases touting the benefits of breastfeeding speaks to the outreach and education that truly is needed in Pennsylvania. Many legislators have been vocal that they are not comfortable with SB 34’s promotion of breastfeeding. They are concerned that advocating for breastfeeding is an inappropriate judgment of women who do not breastfeed.<br><br>
Additionally, Republican leadership was adamant that there are few “rights” in Pennsylvania law. They were unwilling to add breastfeeding to that list and instead wanted it drafted as being permitted.<br><br>
There is some confusion about the fact that the local ordinance prohibition was removed. It was removed because it is unnecessary since state law will preempt any local ordinance prohibiting breastfeeding.<br><br>
I have come up against some unfortunate political realities in moving this bill forward. While the final version of SB 34 that passed the Senate today was not ideal, I believe that is a good first step that has sparked an important dialogue in Pennsylvania. In the 11 years that legislation has been introduced in PA on this issue, this is the first time that a breastfeeding in public bill has moved forward. I welcome more input and hope that the House is more open minded about the fact that this is a true family values and public health issue.<br><br>
Connie Williams<br><br>
17th Senate District<br><br><br>
Senator Constance Williams<br>
700 S. Henderson Road<br>
Suite 100A<br>
King of Prussia, PA 19406<br>
610-992-9790<br><br>
Room 352, Main Capitol<br>
P.O. Box 203017<br>
Harrisburg, PA 17120-3017<br>
717-787-5544<br><a href="mailto:[email protected]">[email protected]</a>"
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Just one or two things - only one senator publically expressed discomfort with the pro-breastfeeding language. It was the one senator who voted against the bill (I am assuming the "nay" vote was Jane Earll) so I guess taking the language out really accomplished something?<br><br>
Second, the section preventing local governments from passing ordinances was most definitely necessary because this bill does not create any right that preempts local action.<br><br>
Now we have to make sure the House does not follow her lead. We must wipe this bill off the books.
 

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<b>mamajake</b>, I'm confused. I, too, received that letter from Sen. Williams about today's vote. But this is what I don't get--<br><i>Second, the section preventing local governments from passing ordinances was most definitely necessary because this bill does not create any right that preempts local action.</i><br>
What does that mean?<br><br>
Sen Williams said: <i>There is some confusion about the fact that the local ordinance prohibition was removed. It was removed because it is unnecessary since state law will preempt any local ordinance prohibiting breastfeeding.</i><br><br>
I don't understand why we would need the prohibition if state law will preempt local ordinances anyway???
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
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<div style="font-style:italic;"><b>mamajake</b>, I'm confused. I, too, received that letter from Sen. Williams about today's vote. But this is what I don't get--<br><i>Second, the section preventing local governments from passing ordinances was most definitely necessary because this bill does not create any right that preempts local action.</i><br>
What does that mean?<br><br>
Sen Williams said: <i>There is some confusion about the fact that the local ordinance prohibition was removed. It was removed because it is unnecessary since state law will preempt any local ordinance prohibiting breastfeeding.</i><br><br>
I don't understand why we would need the prohibition if state law will preempt local ordinances anyway???</div>
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What it means is that Sen. Williams doesn't understand how her own bill or how law in general works. If there were a state law protecting the right to breastfeed in public, local governments could not pass their own laws that conflicted with it. However, since the bill does NOT create or protect any right, local governments are still free to pass laws restricting public breastfeeding. So the senator is just simply wrong.<br><br>
Jake Marcus<br>
Legal Director<br>
Birth Without Boundaries, Int'l
 
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