2018 Bills

HB 196: Mandate to Allow Breastfeeding in Businesses

This bill passed the House with a 66-5 vote and the Senate with a vote of 22-2.

Libertas Institute opposes this bill

Staff review of this legislation finds that it violates our principles and must therefore be opposed.

Two years ago, the legislature passed Senate Bill 59 which prohibited government agencies and businesses with 15 or more employees from refusing to “provide reasonable accommodations for an employee related to pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, or related conditions.”

This year, Representative Justin Fawson has sponsored House Bill 196 which prohibits business owners from discriminating against a person based on pregnancy and imposes breastfeeding-related restrictions on business owners statewide. The bill says:

A woman may breastfeed in any place of public accommodation, as defined in Section 13-7-2, irrespective of whether the woman’s breast is uncovered during or incidental to the breastfeeding.

The oft-used “public accommodations” law enables the government to steadily erode property rights, dictating to people what they may or may not do on their property merely because they open their property to the general public. Simply put, a person should be able to kindly ask a nursing mother to leave if the business owner prefers not to have breastfeeding take place within the establishment.

The market can and should handle any problems with property owners ejecting breastfeeding women—as has already happened in Utah. Protests, boycotts, and other tactics using freedom of association allow people to speak their mind through voluntary activity rather than relying on the coercive power of the state to compel all property owners to act a certain way.