Chandler’s breast-feeding task force appears ready to recommend a city ordinance protecting a mother’s right to breast-feed in public.
But task force members seem to split with city attorneys when it comes to mandating that right over private businesses.
"I don’t think we can have an ordinance that declares a right to breast-feed," said assistant city attorney Glenn Brockman.
Most of the dozen or so mothers who attended the task force’s first meeting Thursday objected to a section of a draft ordinance proposed by city staff that said the new law would not restrict private property owners from controlling and prohibiting conduct by guests or customers.
"I would never approach a mother who’s breast-feeding in my restaurant," said Ron Wojcicki, a task force member and co-owner of 98 South Wine Bar & Kitchen in downtown Chandler.
The city needs to be careful not to infringe on private business owners’ rights by requiring them to accommodate breast-feeding mothers, said Karen Bredeson, chairwoman of the Chandler Chamber of Commerce.
But "they would be making a big mistake" if they turned away nursing mothers, Bredeson said.
Perhaps one thing missing from the meeting was residents who actually had a problem with woman breastfeeding in public.
"I would be interested in hearing from those who are actually offended," said Alisa Figueroa, a concerned resident in attendance.
On top of the draft ordinance, which would require the City Council’s approval before going into effect, the task force seemed to favor a council resolution urging the Legislature to exempt breastfeeding mothers from the state’s indecent exposure law.
Controversy over an unwritten policy at a city pool led to the task force after a mother was told to nurse her baby in a pool restroom.
The task force will meet again 3:30 to 5 p.m. Thursday at the Chandler Community Center, 125 E. Commonwealth Ave., Room 109. The meeting is open to the public and their comments. Child care will be provided.