General Convention Resolution

Last week during the General Convention, a woman deputy from Colorado was not admitted to the floor of the House of Deputies while nursing her infant. This happened to my sister in 2015 as well. 

Because the entire deputation and several women of other deputations rose resistance, the President of the House of Deputies apologized later that day, and said all women will be permitted to nurse their infants under one year on the floor of the House. Precedent for this existed within the US Senate earlier this year, when Tammy Duckworth brought her baby to the floor of the Senate after a resolution was passed unanimously. 

We women deputies and past deputies were not satisfied by this ruling, because parents sometimes need to be with their infants whether or not it is feeding time, and this should not prevent a parent from serving as a deputy. We also discussed that many parents nurse their babies past one year, and no extended nursing child should be denied this practice because their parent is a deputy. So, we spent all of yesterday and last night crafting a resolution that will ensure infants under one year are permitted on the floor of the House of Deputies. 

On Friday July 6, my sister, Deputy Michael Funston from Kansas, currently a nursing mother, filed a resolution containing these clauses. It has been named D087, and will go through a legislative committee soon, before making it to the floor of the House of Deputies. 

The resolution will read as follows, unless it is amended by the Rules of Order committee: 

Amend House of Deputies Rules of Order II: Parents Nursing or Bottle-Feeding Children

Resolved, That House of Deputies Rules of Order IV(A) is hereby amended as follows:

(A) Floor Privileges. No one will be admitted to the floor except Deputies, officers of the House, and:

(1) the Treasurer of the General Convention;

(2) other persons authorized by the President or Secretary, to assist in the conduct of the business of the House;

(3) other persons invited or authorized by the President;

(4) infants under one year of age with a parent or guardian who is a deputy, with space provided to permit feeding while on the floor and access to voting while feeding; however, a nursing parent will not be asked to wear a cover or move to the designated feeding area;

(5) children over one year old who require nursing or bottle-feeding; provided that children are permitted only while feeding; a nursing parent will not be asked to wear a cover or move to the designated feeding area;

(6) caregivers of children, to bring a child to a feeding parent when the child needs to be fed, escorted in and out as directed by the President.

Explanation

No parent deputy should have to choose between serving the church and being a parent.

The first years of life are vital to the development of children, and the bond that is created through parental feeding is an important component in this development. It is important for the child’s immune system, and in the case of nursing, it’s important for a parent to nurse regularly for their health.

On Monday, July 9, this resolution was passed by the committee on Rules of Order.

 The Reverend Sarah Knoll Sweeny
The Reverend Sarah Knoll Sweeny