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Nebraska Capitol’s nursing mothers’ room still not reinstated

Published: Sep. 28, 2021 at 1:26 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (WOWT) - Nearly a week after State Sen. Machaela Cavanaugh vacated her office to allow an office shuffle that would restore the nursing mothers’ room in the Nebraska Capitol, she said it’s “mindboggling” that the room for new moms still isn’t in place.

Amid the state’s redistricting debate, a few senators used their time to focus on the disappearance of the space for working mothers to nurse and care for their infants.

Cavanaugh demanded the room be reinstated.

“I want it back today. You’ve had a week — a week to put it back. I’m sick of this,” she said on the legislative floor. ”The women in this building — the women in this state deserve better. Everyone should be rising up; every single senator should be rising up and demanding action.”

Last week, the nursing mothers’ room was turned into a temporary office for a male staffer during renovations at the Capitol, and a “nursing pod” was set up in the first-floor copy room to accommodate new mothers. When the temporary office wasn’t moved into Cavanaugh’s volunteered space on Thursday, a mannequin with breast pumps was set up in protest.

Cavanaugh commented on the delay during Tuesday’s Unicameral special session, saying the situation highlights issues the state has with workforce retention.

Tuesday, State Sen. Patty Pansing-Brooks said an email went out to the lawmakers stating that the reinstatement of the mothers’ room would happen as soon as possible but noted the timeframe provides quite a bit of leeway.

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