As Oklahoma schools prepare for the beginning of school, COBA kicked off National Breastfeeding Month with the passage of Senate Bill 121, which became law on July 1. The new legislation requires school districts to allow their employees time during the workday to express milk or breastfeed. School districts must also make a reasonable effort to provide lactating mothers with a private, secure, and sanitary room for pumping or nursing.
COBA worked diligently this year with SB 121 authors Senator Carri Hicks and Representative Toni Hasenbeck to champion the needs of Oklahoma’s breastfeeding families, and recently joined Governor Kevin Stitt at the Oklahoma State Capitol for a bill signing. COBA is honored to partner with the Oklahoma Education Association (OEA) and the American Federation of Teachers Oklahoma (AFT-Ok) to create a downloadable toolkit for districts as they work to implement breastfeeding-friendly policies.
COBA Board Chair Becky Mannel: “Our public school teachers care for our kids all day, and I’m so happy that we’re now supporting them to care for their own babies by giving them pumping breaks during the school day. We commend Senator Hicks, Representative Hasenbeck and the other legislative authors of Senate Bill 121 for recognizing that workplaces play a crucial role in providing supportive and relevant policies for mothers, who are the fastest growing segment of our nation’s labor force.”
SB 121 Author Sen. Carri Hicks: “Being a new mother is stressful enough, and constantly worrying about maintaining one’s milk supply makes it even worse. This new law ensures that, starting this school year, our teachers and school employees now have the same rights as government and public employees and can nurse and pump while at work. I’m extremely grateful for the bipartisan support this bill received and to COBA and all the mothers and families who advocated for this critical change and helped get this new law on the books.”