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Mannequin with breast pumps set by lawmaker’s office amid Nebraska Capitol nursing room flap

Published: Sep. 28, 2021 at 1:42 PM MDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (WOWT/Gray News) - Nearly a week after a Nebraska state senator vacated her office to allow a room for nursing mothers in the Capitol to be restored, she said it’s “mindboggling” it still isn’t in place, WOWT reported.

Last week, the usual nursing room was turned into a temporary office for a male staffer during renovations. A nursing pod was placed in a copy room, but it doesn’t have a sink to clean pumping equipment or a refrigerator to store milk.

When the staffer’s temporary office wasn’t moved by Thursday into the space volunteered by state Sen. Machaela Cavanaugh, a mannequin with breast pumps was set up in protest. It was placed outside the office of state Sen. Dan Hughes, who leads the executive committee in charge of rearranging office space.

Hughes previously said the change was only temporary.

Cavanaugh commented on the delay during Tuesday’s unicameral special session, saying the situation highlights issues the state has with workforce retention.

”We have a workforce shortage but we just keep on digging in on things that impact that, that make people want to flee from this state because we don’t care,” she said. “We want to have a workforce, but they can’t be brown. We want to have a workforce, but they can’t have ovaries. We want to have a workforce, but they can’t be gay or have pronouns is apparently our new thing.

“It’s mindboggling to me that this is still a thing. It’s mindboggling to me that that mothers’ room hasn’t been reinstated, that that room has not been vacated.”

State Sen. Patty Pansing-Brooks said Tuesday state senators were told the reinstatement of the mothers’ room would happen as soon as possible, but she noted the timeframe provides quite a bit of leeway.

WOWT Digital Director Gina Dvorak contributed to this report.

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