The legislature has rushed passage of a new breast-feeding bill so its sponsor can see it signed into law.

Representative Rory Ellinger’s bill allows breast-feeding women to be excused from jury duty if they present a note from their doctor.

The House passed the bill unanimously last week. the senate has speeded up its procedures so it, too, could unanimously approve it. Ellinger, from University City, has withdrawn from a re-election bid and has been too ill with liver cancer to be at the capitol for some time.

The bill also forbids local governments from enacting ordinances restricting breast feeding. And it says breast-feeding cannot be considered sexual conduct or public indecency.

Ellinger’s caucus leader, Minority Leader Jake Hummel (D-St. Louis), thanked lawmakers in both chambers for honoring Ellinger.

“It’s a testament to a gentlemen who is well liked on both sides of the aisle, and whether or not they agreed or disagreed with his political stances, they knew that he was very heartfelt and cared deeply about all of his issues.”

See an earlier story on the legislation

Governor Nixon is expected to sign the bill as soon as the legislature finishes necessary final technical actions.

AUDIO: debate 12:02