Legislature(2009 - 2010)BELTZ 211

03/26/2009 01:30 PM LABOR & COMMERCE

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01:36:37 PM Start
01:37:30 PM Confirmation Hearings for Governor's Appointments
01:38:28 PM SB142
01:47:42 PM SB42
02:27:56 PM SB14
02:31:31 PM SB106
02:32:19 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Confirmation of Governor's Appointments TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
Moved SB 142 Out of Committee
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
Moved SB 14 Out of Committee
Moved SB 106 Out of Committee
               SB 42-NURSING MOTHERS IN WORKPLACE                                                                           
1:47:42 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR PASKVAN announced SB 42 to be up for consideration.                                                                       
SENATOR JOHNNY  ELLIS, sponsor of  SB 42, asked his  staff, Amory                                                               
LeLake, to join him for  the initial presentation. He thanked the                                                               
committee  for hearing  his  "latest  breast feeding  progressive                                                               
This  legislation  costs  the state  nothing,  he  reviewed,  and                                                               
provides  preventative health  benefits, cuts  down significantly                                                               
on health  care costs for  mother and  infant and serves  to grow                                                               
the  economy  by  providing several  significant  advantages  for                                                               
employers and communities.                                                                                                      
SENATOR ELLIS  said 21 states  and 107 countries  have recognized                                                               
the   broad   sweeping   rewards   that   come   from   promoting                                                               
breastfeeding  accommodation in  the workplace.  Many years  ago,                                                               
while  no one  was ever  arrested, breast  feeding in  Alaska was                                                               
technically  considered  indecent  exposure  in  Alaska  statute.                                                               
Breastfeeding  women   were  relegated  to  "sometimes   not  the                                                               
cleanest toilet  stalls" to feed  their babies in  public places.                                                               
Some   business  concerns   had   been   brought  forward   since                                                               
introduction  of  this legislation,  but  he  was confident  they                                                               
could be addressed because other states had.                                                                                    
He said  that breastfeeding provides  a free and  simple approach                                                               
to preventative medicine. Breastfed  children have lower rates of                                                               
diabetes and  obesity and fewer  respiratory and  ear infections.                                                               
Infants  who are  exclusively breastfed  tend to  need far  fewer                                                               
health care visits,  prescriptions and hospitalizations resulting                                                               
in  a  lower  total  medical cost  compared  to  never  breastfed                                                               
Breastfeeding   also  provides   long-term  preventative   health                                                               
benefits  for the  mother  including an  earlier  return to  pre-                                                               
pregnancy weight,  reduced risks  of premenopausal  breast cancer                                                               
and  osteoporosis.   Data  from  the  Department   of  Labor  and                                                               
Workforce Development  (DOLWD) for 2005  show that 65  percent of                                                               
women work  outside of the  home today. Furthermore,  mothers are                                                               
the fastest growing number on the  workforce - 55 percent of whom                                                               
have  children under  the age  of three.  Providing this  growing                                                               
workforce   segment   with   the  very   reasonable   option   of                                                               
breastfeeding makes  sense economically and will  help insure the                                                               
health of Alaskan workers for generations.                                                                                      
In  addition   to  the  individual  health   benefits,  providing                                                               
opportunities  for breastfeeding  results in  substantial rewards                                                               
to  employers  including  reduced   health  care  costs,  reduced                                                               
employee  absenteeism for  care attributable  to infant  illness,                                                               
improved employee  productivity and happiness, higher  morale and                                                               
greater loyalty to  the company, improved ability  to attract and                                                               
retain  valuable employees  and  a family-friendly  image in  the                                                               
1:53:02 PM                                                                                                                    
AMORY   LELAKE,  staff   to  Senator   Ellis,  did   a  sectional                                                               
explanation of SB  142, which says that employers  are to provide                                                               
reasonable  unpaid break  time each  day  to an  employee who  is                                                               
nursing so that she may  breastfeed or express breast milk. These                                                               
break times  may run  concurrently with  other times  provided by                                                               
the employer.                                                                                                                   
Subsection  (b)  provides  that  the  employer  shall  provide  a                                                               
private and sanitary location within  close proximity to the work                                                               
area  other than  a toilet  stall. Subsection  (c) provides  that                                                               
nothing in this section requires an  employer to allow a child in                                                               
the workplace  at times  other than  break times.  Subsection (d)                                                               
defines "employer" as a  corporation, company, partnership, firm,                                                               
association, organization or sole  proprietor including any state                                                               
political subdivision of the state.                                                                                             
1:54:12 PM                                                                                                                    
She  said the  bill packet  provides extensive  evidence for  how                                                               
breastfeeding  promotes  health  among mothers  and  infants.  It                                                               
benefits employers and can be  achieved at relatively little cost                                                               
and has  broad support.   This bill is on  the short list  of the                                                               
2009 Anchorage municipal legislative priorities.                                                                                
1:54:52 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR MEYER asked what the penalty is for non-compliance.                                                                     
MS. LELAKE  answered the  bill doesn't have  a penalty,  but they                                                               
are willing  to work with small  businesses to come to  some sort                                                               
of agreement.                                                                                                                   
CHAIR PASKVAN said  he looked forward to  receiving the committee                                                               
substitute  when the  important issues  had been  worked out.  He                                                               
then opened public testimony.                                                                                                   
1:56:17 PM                                                                                                                    
SARAH  GROSSHUESCH,  Department  of Health  and  Human  Services,                                                               
Municipality  of Anchorage,  strongly supported  SB 42.  She said                                                               
that  increasing breastfeeding  initiation  and duration  through                                                               
positive public  policy impacts  several municipal  public health                                                               
programs.  The  Municipality  of  Anchorage's WIC  program  is  a                                                               
staunch advocate for breastfeeding, and  the ability for a mom to                                                               
breastfeed or express milk is brought  up as a major concern when                                                               
clients are  returning to work.  The committee had  already heard                                                               
testimony about the health benefits, but  it should be noted if a                                                               
woman cannot pump every 2-3  hours, the milk production, which is                                                               
a biological mechanism, dwindles rapidly.  The use of an electric                                                               
breast pump is a fast and convenient  way for a mom to be able to                                                               
rejoin the workforce  and continue to take care of  her infant in                                                               
the best possible method for both of them.                                                                                      
As  an employer,  the Municipality  of Anchorage  recognizes that                                                               
breastfeeding  support makes  smart business  sense. New  mothers                                                               
have  three  times   as  many  one-day  absences   from  work  as                                                               
breastfeeding  mothers  because  their  children  are  sick  more                                                               
often. Infants  fed formula  for the first  three months  of life                                                               
incur $331 more in health care  costs according to one study just                                                               
for  respiratory tract  infections compared  to infants  who were                                                               
fed only breast milk.                                                                                                           
1:58:33 PM                                                                                                                    
VANISHA   LISTON,  WIC   Program,   Municipality  of   Anchorage,                                                               
supported SB  42. She  related that returning  to work  after she                                                               
became a mom didn't seem like it  was going to work, but with the                                                               
support of  her employer  and the  clients at  work understanding                                                               
how  important breastfeeding  really  is, made  it possible.  She                                                               
believed  that   employers  supporting  mothers  being   able  to                                                               
breastfeed their babies at work  had changed the way that mothers                                                               
feel about it, as well.                                                                                                         
She said that  breastfeeding gives babies all  the nutrition they                                                               
need  to  protect  their  immune system  and  protect  them  from                                                               
infections.  Allowing breastfeeding  at work  really changes  the                                                               
way people  feel to where  clients feel comfortable  about asking                                                               
questions about it.                                                                                                             
2:00:08 PM                                                                                                                    
JENNIFER AIST, Board Certified Lactation  Consultant, said she is                                                               
the  director   of  the  Parent  Education   Program,  Providence                                                               
Children's  Hospital, and  that she  also serves  as the  contact                                                               
lactation consultant  for the  statewide WIC  program. In  her 15                                                               
years of working in Alaska  she has witnessed women breastfeeding                                                               
their babies in all sorts  of different work environments ranging                                                               
from stockers  at Wal-Mart to  commercial fishing to  surgeons in                                                               
hospitals. She  finds it  disturbing that  more employers  do not                                                               
support a woman's basic right to  provide milk to her babies. And                                                               
more  relevant  to  this  committee,   she  finds  it  completely                                                               
foolish, economically speaking, that  all employers don't support                                                               
mothers collecting their  milk during the workday.  It would help                                                               
employers to  recruit and retain  employees and keep them  on the                                                               
job longer.                                                                                                                     
MS. AIST said she talks to  women every day who are not returning                                                               
to work  because their boss  is not supportive  of breastfeeding,                                                               
and she has talked to women  who are forced to stop breastfeeding                                                               
due to an unsupportive work  environment. This is most often seen                                                               
in lower income  jobs.  These moms are likely  on Denali Kid Care                                                               
so the  cost to  the State  of Alaska  for health  care increases                                                               
exponentially for every formula-fed baby.                                                                                       
Breastfeeding saves money  for everyone, she said.  Women are not                                                               
asking for fancy  lounges to pump in; they are  simply asking for                                                               
the unpaid  time and  a clean  space in which  to do  it. Pumping                                                               
only takes  15 minutes every 4  hours or so. Most  moms only need                                                               
to pump  for a maximum  of one year. That  means a mom  taking 10                                                               
weeks maternity leave  will be pumping for a maximum  of 42 weeks                                                               
- 10  times per week  - which is  a total  of 420 times.  It will                                                               
keep her  and her  baby healthier  and saves  insurance, Medicaid                                                               
and the employer money.                                                                                                         
2:02:25 PM                                                                                                                    
DEBBIE  FALLON,  Nurse  Parent  Educator   as  well  as  a  board                                                               
certified lactation consultant,  Bartlett Regional Hospital, said                                                               
there is  a huge impact  from not  being breastfed. It  means not                                                               
that  there  is less  risk  of  dying  from sudden  infant  death                                                               
syndrome (SIDS), but it does mean  there is a two times increased                                                               
risk of  dying of SIDS.  There is  actually a 10  times increased                                                               
risk of being  hospitalized for any reason in your  first year of                                                               
life  if you  are  not  provided with  breast  milk.  One of  the                                                               
biggest reasons able women don't go  back to work is because they                                                               
can't  express their  milk  there.  Removing milk  at  work is  a                                                               
biological function, and if they  don't do it, the pressure backs                                                               
up the milk and that makes the glands stop working.                                                                             
MS. FALLON said that Southeast  Alaska Regional Health Consortium                                                               
(SEARHC)  established a  breastfeeding policy  in its  work place                                                               
and it has been  working very well for the last  year and a half.                                                               
The reality is  that most women aren't pumping for  a whole year.                                                               
Most women don't  come back for 2 or 3  months after having their                                                               
baby; so they are asking for just a pretty small amount of time.                                                                
2:04:56 PM                                                                                                                    
She, as a  parent educator, has an email list  of 100 families in                                                               
Juneau and  she asked them  to come to  the meeting, and  if they                                                               
were unable, to tell her their  stories. She found that women are                                                               
going into bathroom  stalls to express milk now. She  has a woman                                                               
in the  federal building who  said she is stringing  an extension                                                               
cord across the  bathroom entrance and under the  stall door, and                                                               
putting a chair in the  handicapped stall. She didn't realize how                                                               
busy the  women's bathroom on her  floor was until she  sat there                                                               
for  15  minutes.  She felt  seriously  uncomfortable  as  people                                                               
tripped over  the cord and the  noise of the pump  was heard. She                                                               
also  remarked  how unsanitary  it  was  to  be in  the  bathroom                                                               
producing food  for her baby  because she doesn't  prepare dinner                                                               
for her family in the toilet.                                                                                                   
MS. FALLON  said she got this  kind of story over  and over again                                                               
from women  all over  Juneau. She also  heard some  stories about                                                               
how people were  given a place at work and  they talked about how                                                               
they were able to do it for  a year and how much they appreciated                                                               
their employers' letting  them do that and were glad  to work for                                                               
them. But most of them had to do it in the bathroom.                                                                            
She read  another message from  an employee  who works for  a big                                                               
box  store in  Juneau who  said the  company has  great benefits,                                                               
including for domestic  partner benefits, but it has  no place to                                                               
pump. Mothers  had to  go to  the bathroom  that was  not cleaned                                                               
regularly and was usually "filthy."                                                                                             
MS.  FALLON  reiterated  that  the   health  care  costs  of  not                                                               
breastfeeding aside from the lost  work days are estimated to run                                                               
$1200-$1500  per   child  (according  to  Kaiser   Permanente  in                                                               
California) or a total of $3.6 billion/yr. in the U.S.                                                                          
2:07:42 PM                                                                                                                    
MINDY  BARRY, teacher,  Juneau  School  District, introduced  her                                                               
children and niece and nephew  who were all breastfed babies. She                                                               
just went back to work as  a first grade teacher and supported SB
42. She took the  first half of the year off to  be home with her                                                               
daughter  who struggled  with feeding  and was  starting to  lose                                                               
weight. Because  she needed to go  back to work, she  was nervous                                                               
she would  lose the opportunity  to feed  her. Her job  allowed a                                                               
parent educator to  cover her first class so she  could nurse her                                                               
daughter and  provided other  needed breaks  during the  day. "It                                                               
works  out  really  great,"  she said.  There  are  five  nursing                                                               
mothers in her  building now, and they have a  room and a rocking                                                               
chair. Her sister, a lawyer in  Anchorage, was allowed to pump at                                                               
work after she had her baby,  but her other sister who lives here                                                               
in Juneau was unable to pump during  the day, and as a result her                                                               
daughter went on to formula and became very sick.                                                                               
2:10:09 PM                                                                                                                    
TINA MARTIN,  Department of Administration, supported  SB 42. She                                                               
is a brand new mom and she was  able to pump for about 8 months -                                                               
in  the bathroom.  While her  supervisor was  very supportive  of                                                               
her, she  felt she needed  to do it  longer, but her  supply kept                                                               
decreasing because  she didn't have  the time  to do it.  "In the                                                               
bathroom you  kind of get  some looks  about, you know,  being in                                                               
there and pumping for your child."                                                                                              
2:11:18 PM                                                                                                                    
TANYA WINKE, representing herself, said  she is a State of Alaska                                                               
employee and  wanted to stress  the importance  of breastfeeding,                                                               
and supported  SB 42. She even  attended breastfeeding consultant                                                               
classes and  found that breastfeeding  was so beneficial  for her                                                               
child that she continued it  throughout her maternity leave. When                                                               
she came  back to work the  boss was very accommodating,  but she                                                               
had to  pump in the  bathroom stall.  It was unsanitary,  but she                                                               
did it  for the next  6 months.  It got to  be hard as  she heard                                                               
people talk about  her taking up 15 minutes in  the toilet stall.                                                               
She actually  would have  liked a  chair to sit  on instead  of a                                                               
toilet seat. Her son developed croup  when she weaned him and the                                                               
doctor said it could have been due to the weaning.                                                                              
2:13:31 PM                                                                                                                    
CHEYENNE SCHMIDT,  State of  Alaska employee,  said her  story is                                                               
exactly  the same  as everyone  else's; she  had to  pump in  the                                                               
bathroom stall. The only thing she  wanted to add is that despite                                                               
having  to pump  in  a bathroom  stall where  you  think you  are                                                               
surrounded by  other women  who according  to the  statistics are                                                               
mostly mothers,  there is  reluctance by some  them to  deal with                                                               
you because you  are in the stall. They suggest  you go somewhere                                                               
else or  say it makes  them uncomfortable.  So having a  law like                                                               
this would show  that people could be a little  more accepting of                                                               
2:14:53 PM                                                                                                                    
LENAE WALDRON,  business owner  and mother of  two, said  she has                                                               
been  able  to  accommodate  her  five  employees  who  have  had                                                               
children.  Most   of  the  time   the  employees  are   there  by                                                               
themselves, and  it allowed them to  come back to work  6-8 weeks                                                               
after having their baby. She takes  her own children to work. You                                                               
just need a quiet place other than a bathroom.                                                                                  
2:16:44 PM                                                                                                                    
DEBBIE GOLDEN,  Division of Public  Health, Department  of Health                                                               
and Social  Services (DHSS), supported  SB 42. She  said although                                                               
Alaska has  a high  initiation breastfeeding  rate, the  drop off                                                               
rate is significant. She added that  people have known for a long                                                               
time  that  breastfeeding  improves  the  health  of  babies  and                                                               
mothers and likely improves their health as they grow older.                                                                    
2:19:12 PM                                                                                                                    
LORIE MORRIS said  she is the mother of a  seven-month old child,                                                               
and an  Executive Director  of a  small non-profit  in Anchorage;                                                               
she supported  SB 42. She  said women hold critical  roles within                                                               
the workforce and  she knows that personally if she  was not able                                                               
to nurse at work, she would  have left the workforce. In the last                                                               
several years,  she has  known at  least five  professional women                                                               
who decided  not return to  work, because their  organization did                                                               
not support nursing  at work. Opponents of the bill  may say this                                                               
mandate  will  be  too  expensive   for  small  organizations  to                                                               
implement, but  research by Etna  suggests that for  every dollar                                                               
invested to support lactation there  is a return on investment of                                                               
$2.80.  Families  have  waited  too long  for  the  workplace  to                                                               
voluntarily meet these basic standards.                                                                                         
2:20:27 PM                                                                                                                    
CATHERINE TAPEY, President,  Alaska Breastfeeding Coalition, said                                                               
she is  a board certified  lactation consultant and  supported SB
42 because  of everything that  has already been said.  She added                                                               
that Dr.  Audrey Mailer, in  the New York  Times, said a  goal of                                                               
every woman in  the workplace regardless of  employment status is                                                               
to have the opportunity to provide breast milk for her baby.                                                                    
2:21:11 PM                                                                                                                    
JEFFREY  MITTMAN, Executive  Director,  American Civil  Liberties                                                               
Union of Alaska,  supported SB 42. This bill  recognizes the need                                                               
to protect the rights of women  in the workplace and it will lead                                                               
to having stronger families and a stronger economy.                                                                             
2:21:53 PM                                                                                                                    
CLOVER  SIMON,   Planned  Parenthood  of  the   Great  Northwest,                                                               
supported  SB 42.  As an  employer they  have always  allowed new                                                               
mothers to bring  their babies to work if they  don't work in the                                                               
clinic, and if  they do work in the clinic,  give them ample time                                                               
to breastfeed. They also have a  "great room for all of our staff                                                               
whether they are  sick or if they need to  breastfeed." It allows                                                               
their workers to return to  work earlier and it doesn't interfere                                                               
with their productivity or seeing  patients in the clinic at all.                                                               
She  thought that  businesses that  are against  breastfeeding in                                                               
the workplace are probably against women in general.                                                                            
2:22:59 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR PASKVAN  closed public testimony  and said he  was awaiting                                                               
the CS. [SB 142 was held in committee.]                                                                                         

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
Governor's Appointments.pdf SL&C 3/26/2009 1:30:00 PM
SL&C 3/31/2009 1:00:00 PM
SB 142 Bill Packet.pdf SL&C 3/26/2009 1:30:00 PM
SB 142
SB 42 Bill Packet.pdf SL&C 3/26/2009 1:30:00 PM
SB 42