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family friendly jury duty in Maryland!

(Last updated June 16, 2005)

Maryland Senate Bill 150

Maryland Senate Bill 150, a “family friendly jury duty”  initiative filed for the 2004 Regular Session of Maryland’s General Assembly failed to pass. 

SB 150 would have allowed any mother breastfeeding a child younger than two to be deferred from jury duty.

Under current Maryland law, a breastfeeding mother may be excused from jury duty only at the judge’s discretion and only for the period of time the judge deems necessary.

The bill failed to pass due to a committee chair’s refusal to bring the bill up for a vote.  


History of this legislation:  This bill was filed by Senator Robert J. Hooper (- R, Harford County), at the request of Maryland constituent, Cathy Smith. 

Co-sponsors were:


·           Senator John C. Astle

·           Senator Richard F. Colburn

·           Senator Janet Greenip

·           Senator Nancy Jacobs

·           Senator Gloria Lawlah


A similar measure was considered in 2003, sponsored by Sen. Hooper, along with co-sponsors, Sen. Nancy Jacobs and Sen. Gloria Lawlah, but it never made it out of the Judicial Proceedings Committee, despite the majority of committee members that supported it.  Commenting on the necessity of such an initiative, Sen. Nancy Jacobs said, “Obviously, everyone here knows the difficulty it would cause to bring a child into the courtroom.  You can’t really keep on a schedule when you’re breast-feeding a child.  It’s on demand.”  A lobbyist for the American Academy of Pediatrics, Minor Carter, explained that more new mothers are breast-feeding their children as they learn more about its benefits.  “Breast-feeding is a very healthful thing to do,” he told the committee at last year’s hearing.  “We think this is a good bill.”


How can you help:

If you would like to help support this worthwhile, compassionate legislation and work to give it another chance, or if you have any questions about this legislation, please contact:


Catherine Smith

1600 Cynthia Court

Jarrettsville, MD  21084

Tel:  410-692-2932


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