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Lactation bill signed into law in New York City

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BROOKLYN, N.Y. – This time next year, nursing moms in New York City will have guaranteed access to a private space in which to breastfeed or pump at public places around the five boroughs.

A bill making that requirement a reality was signed into law Thursday at Brooklyn Borough Hall.

“This is a victory for many mothers that endure long wait times at many public offices without a sanitary and comfortable room to accommodate their hungry infants,” council member Robert Cornegy Jr.’s office said in a statement.

Cornegy introduced the bill and lobbied for its successful passage. He’s the first elected official to house a lactation station in his district office, inspiring his colleagues Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and Assembly member Walter Mosley to do the same.

Under the new law, breastfeeding mothers will have the option to request a private, sanitary place to breastfeed while in public spaces, such as SNAP centers and DMV locations.

Restrooms don’t count as lactation rooms, officials said. Instead, a lactation room is defined as a private space that must include a chair, electrical outlet and nearby access to running water.

“This whole situation has been backwards,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said at Thursday’s bill signing. “Today, we’re gonna fix it. Today, we’re gonna make life easier for moms.”

Public lactation rooms will be open by July 1, 2017, the mayor said.