Press Release

Legislation to Ensure All Court Users Can Breastfeed Passes Senate Committee

SB 949 requires superior courts to allow a person during a court

proceeding to take breaks, if necessary, to express breast milk 

SACRAMENTO – Legislation by Sen. Catherine Blakespear, D-Encinitas, to ensure that anyone who needs to pump breast milk while in court will be given breaks to do so passed the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday.

Present law requires the superior court to provide employees with the use of a lactation room and beginning July 1, 2026, to have a lactation room available to the public in any courthouse that has one for court employees. Senate Bill 949 goes a step further and requires superior courts to provide courtroom breaks for a non-employee, such as a lawyer or witness, who needs to pump breast milk.

“Thousands of people not employed by the courts are required to attend court each day, and many are women who may need to pump breast milk,” Sen. Blakespear said. “Ensuring that any mother at court can breastfeed or express milk when necessary is essential for the health and well-being of both mothers and their babies.”

Each year, over 4 million cases are filed in California state courts, and the vast majority begin in a superior court, also known as trial court. The state court system employs 18,000 people, and many thousands more are required to participate in court proceedings, including attorneys, parties to lawsuits, witnesses, interpreters, court reporters and others.

Feeding infants exclusively breast milk in the first six months is known to have positive lasting health benefits and is encouraged worldwide. Breast milk reduces the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, decreases the likelihood of a child developing chronic conditions, such as diabetes and asthma, and can decrease the risk of cardio-vascular disease and breast and ovarian cancer in the lactating person.

The idea for the legislation came from a District 38 resident working as an attorney who had to specifically describe the reason for a request to take a break in a court proceeding and leave to pump breast milk. With SB 949 in place, such breaks will be treated as routine accessibility accommodations and not as discretionary disruptions to proceedings.

The bill goes next to the Senate Appropriations Committee for consideration.

Elected in 2022, Sen. Blakespear represents Senate District 38, which covers northern San Diego County and part of Orange County. To learn more about the district and Sen. Blakespear, visit her Senate website.