California public schools and colleges are now required to stock their restrooms with free menstrual products after Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the bill on Friday.
The bill builds onto a 2017 law that requires low-income schools in disadvantaged areas to provide free menstrual products to students. It expands the law to include grades 6 to 12, community colleges, and the California State University and University of California systems, starting in the 2022-23 school year. It encourages private schools and colleges to follow suit.
In Texas, schools are not required to provide menstrual products although several groups are working towards the goal of doing so, including Periods United. Alexa Atkinson, the founder of Periods United, said one goal of the organization is to provide free menstrual products for all schools in Texas.
“We got free menstrual products in Texas State because we feel like all schools should be providing these products free,” Atkinson told KXAN. “They should have access to these products, and they shouldn’t be missing out on their education because of the lack of tampons and pads.”
In 2019, Dallas ISD installed dispensers with free pads and tampons in every school and newly constructed middle school after a campaign was started by two students to provide menstrual products for girls.
State Representative Donna Howard (D-Austin) has also filed a bill twice to eliminate the tax on menstrual products in Texas, however it has never passed.
The bill usually doesn’t get much momentum, because sales tax is the largest source of revenue for the state of Texas, Howard said. Last legislative session, the committee decided not to pass the bill, in part, because it would eliminate $37 million in sales tax.
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