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BOISE — A bill that would exempt breastfeeding mothers from public indecency and obscenity laws will advance to the Senate floor.

HB 488, proposed by Rep. Paul Amador of Coeur d’Alene, cleared the Senate Judiciary and Rules committee unanimously Monday. The legislation had passed 66-0 in the House with no debate.

Forty-nine states and the District of Columbia currently have laws allowing women the right to breastfeed in any public or private location, co-sponsor Sen. Lori Den Hartog told the committee. Breastfeeding is exempt from public indecency laws in 29 states.

“We are currently the only state in the country that provides no legal protections for breastfeeding mothers,” said Den Hartog, a Republican from Meridian. She went on to cite the nutritional and emotional benefits of breastfeeding.

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The meeting featured a surprise visit from Amador’s 6-month-old son, Peter, eliciting a chorus of “awws” from committee members and observers.

“This right here is why we’re before you today, just ensuring that women and family and children are our priority in the state of Idaho,” Amador said. “Help us grow a strong crop of little Idaho spuds right here.”

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