Recently I attended the 2022 virtual AWHONN on Capitol Hill. The 2-day program is held yearly in March and this year there were 5 attendees from Illinois. Day 1 provides education on the legislative process, how to lobby, and reviews current bills supported by the organization. On day 2 each member has 3 pre-scheduled appointments with the staff of your district’s Senators and Representatives. As AWHONN members we provide a voice in support of current bills before congress, relaying stories or examples on how that bill would make a difference. Four bills of many are chosen as priority by the AWHONN team and attendees are provide with talking points and fact sheets on each bill. The priority legislation this year included:
HR945/S287 Perinatal Workforce Act
This bill establishes programs and requires research to diversify the Perinatal workforce and advance respectful maternal care delivery models.
HR 3407/ S411 Momma’s Act
The bill establishes various programs, requirements, and technical assistance to reduce maternal and offspring mortality and morbidity.
HR1195 Workplace Violence
Bill requires OSHA to issue a standard to have a plan in place to prevent violence in the workplace and respond when it does.
Providing Urgent Maternal Protections (PUMP) for Nursing Mothers Act
The bill expands workplace protections for employees with a need to express breast milk.
The Providing Urgent Maternal Protections (PUMP) for Nursing Mothers Act (H.R. 3110/S. 1658) has passed in the House only to languish in the Senate. Time is getting short in this Congress to get the PUMP Act out of the Senate and on President Biden’s desk, and we need your help to do it.
This bill would extend currently required break times for nursing mothers to an additional 9 million workers.
The PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act would:
- Protect the 9 million employees unintentionally excluded from the break time law by extending protections to cover exempt (salaried) employees as well as other categories of employees currently exempted from protections, such as teachers.
- Provide employers clarity on when pumping time must be paid and when it may be unpaid. The bill would leave in place existing law protecting many salaried workers from having their pay docked and clarifies that employers must pay an hourly employee for any time spent pumping if the employee is also working.
- Ensure that nursing mothers have access to remedies that are available for other violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
Please call your SENATOR urging support with this bill. If you are unsure of contact information use this link U.S. Senate: Contacting U.S. Senators for phone, webpage and address.
In each of our lobby appointments we were encouraged to keep in touch with the office, asked for follow up information and sent letters to reinforce our message. To learn more about legislation activities with AWHONN visit the Advocacy Page at: Advocate – AWHONN
Peggy Cowling AWHONN Illinois Legislative Coordinator