A politician in California was forced to cast her vote on a bill – with her newborn baby.
Buffy Wicks, an assemblywoman for California’s State Assembly, had just given birth a month ago.
She asked for permission to vote by proxy on a housing bill on Monday of this week – but the speaker of the State Assembly, Anthony Rendon, said that she would have to vote in person or not at all.
Proxy voting has been possible for people who are at a higher risk of Covid-19 – this means that a proxy can vote on their behalf. Wicks’ spokesperson told a reporter that they were informed: “Maternity leave is not eligible for proxy voting”.
Wicks may not fit the profile of someone who is susceptible to Covid-19, but those who have recently given birth can suffer from post-partum complications and other health factors which could increase their risk factor.
Wicks drove from Oakland to Sacramento to vote on the legislation, and gave a brief speech on the vote.
Her baby, called Elly, even made a noise during her speech. Wicks said, “We are 3.5 million homes shy of where we need to be right now, in this state, and Elly [her child] agrees that we need it.”
The legislation which was being voted on would make it easier for multi unit housing to be built, and would go some way towards alleviating a housing crisis in the state of California – it did not pass.
Currently, Senate Democrats have had to show up in person to vote while Senate Republicans are barred because Republican senator Brian Jones tested positive for Covid-19.
People like Hillary Clinton weighed in with words of support.
Anthony Rendon has since apologised, saying that he never “intended to be inconsiderate toward her, her role as a legislator or her role as a mother.”
On the floor, Wicks said, “Please, please, please pass this bill – and I’m going to go finish feeding my daughter.”