Measure would excuse new mothers from jury duty

Measure would excuse new mothers from jury duty

Rep. Carolina Amesty

New mothers would be excused from jury duty up to six months after giving birth under a proposal that is moving through the Florida Legislature.

The House Civil Justice Subcommittee voted 18-0 on December 6 to approve HB 461 by Rep. Carolina Amesty, R-Windemere.

“Strong and healthy families should be at the heart of our state policymaking,” Amesty said.

The one-page bill states, “Upon a written request with accompanying birth certificate, a woman who has given birth less than 6 months before being summoned for jury duty shall be excused from that specific summons for jury service.”

Democratic Rep. Ashley Gantt, a Miami lawyer, said she supported the concept, but was concerned that the bill does not establish a timeframe for submitting the request, or address a process for verifying the authenticity of the birth certificate.

Amesty told Gantt she was willing to work with her to improve the bill.

Republican Rep. Traci Koster, a Tampa family law attorney, asked Amesty if she would go even further.

“Is there an appetite for including new dads that might be on paternity leave or just had a baby as well?” Koster said.

“We want families to thrive in Florida, so I’m open to considering that,” Amesty said.

HB 461 faces one more stop, in the Judiciary Committee, before reaching the House floor.

Republican Sen. Erin Grall, a Ft. Pierce attorney, is sponsoring a companion, SB 462. The Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to consider the bill next week.

The 60-day regular legislative session convenes January 9, 2024.


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