- A California law will require public schools and colleges to provide free menstrual products.
- The law, signed Friday, builds on a 2017 law that required they be available in low-income schools.
- “Our biology doesn’t always send an advanced warning when we’re about to start menstruating,” the lawmaker who sponsored the bill told the Associated Press.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday signed into law a bill that will require all public schools and colleges in the state to stock restrooms with free menstrual products.
According to the Associated Press, the legislation builds on a 2017 law that required public schools in low-income areas to provide menstrual products for free.
The new law requires schools to provide free menstrual products in at least half of their restrooms, including in all women’s restrooms, in all-gender restrooms, and in at least one men’s restroom. The cost of the products to schools would be reimbursed by the state, according to the legislation.
“Our biology doesn’t always send an advanced warning when we’re about to start menstruating, which often means we need to stop whatever we’re doing and deal with a period,” said Cristina Garcia, the California lawmaker who introduced the legislation, per AP. “Just as toilet paper and paper towels are provided in virtually every public bathrooms, so should menstrual products.”
California in early 2020 enacted legislation to eliminate sales tax on menstrual products, often called the tampon tax. According to Marie Claire, 20 states and Washington, DC, have eliminated the tax on menstrual products.
The California legislation requires free menstrual products to be provided in the bathrooms of students in grades 6 through 12, in community colleges, at California State University, and at all University of California systems beginning in the 2022-23 school year, the AP first reported.
While the law does not require private institutions to do the same, it encourages them to do so.
“California joins a growing number of states who lead the way in demonstrating that menstrual equity is a matter of human rights,” the advocacy group PERIOD said in a statement, according to the AP. “No student should ever lose learning time due to their periods, period.”
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