Missouri is set to become the latest state to exempt nursing mothers from jury duty. Both the Missouri Senate and House have passed legislation that would allow nursing mothers to avoid jury duty so long as they provide the court with a doctor's note. The legislation now awaits final signature of the governor.
Once the legislation is signed into law, Missouri would join several other states that exempt nursing mothers from jury duty. According to the web site of the National Conference of State Legislatures, 15 jurisdictions provide such exemptions(California, Connecticut, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota and Virginia.)
The push for the Missouri legislation was started last year after one potential juror was held in contempt for bringing her seven month old child to jury duty. According to the judge, this juror "willfully and contemptuously appeared for jury service with her child and no one to care for the child.” Fortunately for this prospective juror, the judge agreed to hold off on collecting the $500 fine until after the legislative session.