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(Jefferson City) (AP) – Nursing mothers could be excused from jury duty under legislation given initial approval by the Missouri Senate.

A bill endorsed Monday would expand protections in Missouri law that already allow mothers to discreetly breast-feed in public places. The bill adds expressing breast milk to the list of protected activities and prohibits cities from enacting local ordinances restricting breast-feeding mothers.

Under the legislation, nursing mothers would be excused from jury duty upon submitting a written note from a doctor.

The bill is sponsored by Republican Sen. Rob Schaaf, a physician from St. Joseph. He cited research showing breast-fed babies are healthier, thus lowering the state’s potential medical costs for their care.

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