Rules may change for nursing moms called for jury duty

WXYZ - "I wanted to know why Michigan didn't have an exemption for nursing mothers called for jury duty," said Jennifer Hock.

It was a simple question.

Hock decided to e-mail state Rep. Kurt Heise, R-Plymouth, and ask him why.

Her question inspired him to propose a bill that may very well become law.

"This is common-sense legislation that has been endorsed by the Michigan Judges Association and helps working families throughout Michigan," Heise said. "It also shows how one person's idea can become law and how one idea can make a difference in the community."

Representatives voted to approve House Bill 4691 in early November. Now the proposed law needs to win Senate approval. If it does, courts would have to receive and process notes provided by doctors or certified nurse midwives in order to exempt nursing mothers from jury service.

Hock became interested in the issue when she was called for jury duty while pregnant. Her doctor told her she shouldn't serve at the time, because of health problems connected to the pregnancy. The judge warned her she would be called in a few months as a new mom.

She suffered through her civic duty, against doctor's warning, because she learned there was no exemption for new or nursing moms.

"I'm very pro-breastfeeding and I knew that would be a real difficulty. To excuse myself every few hours and there would be no place to store it. So I ended up opting to serve while pregnant, instead of taking the delay," said Hock.

She says she is proud to see her suggestion has resulted in legislation so quickly.

"It is an example of government working the way it is supposed to work and being the voice of the people."

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