OK, Missouri legislature. This one should be easy.
A Jackson County judge has punted a controversy regarding jury duty for nursing mothers into the legislature’s lap. By all means, lawmakers should amend state statutes to allow breastfeeding moms to postpone their civic duty.
Laura Trickle of Lee’s Summit appeared in court Thursday to respond to a summons that contended she had “willfully and contemptuously appeared for jury service with her child and no one to care for the child.”
Trickle had indeed shown up for jury duty, reluctantly, with her infant son. She had been informed that skipping out because she was breastfeeding was not an option and that she should leave the child at home or bring a caretaker along. But as any parent knows, that is easier said than done.
The judge, Marco Roldan, could have fined Trickle $500. He’d recently levied a fine of that amount against another nursing mom. But after a controversy erupted over Trickle’s summons, Roldan refunded the $500 to the other woman and said he would delay fining her and Trickle until after next year’s legislative session.
Nothing is ever simple in Jefferson City, but this one seems like a no-brainer. Missouri should join Kansas and 11 other states by writing into law that nursing moms are exempt from jury duty. It’s unfair to the mother, the child and the court to require otherwise.
Copyright The Kansas City Star. Reprinted with permission.