New Law Requires Free Menstrual Products In Public School & College Restrooms In California

Oct 12, 2021 by apost team

Over the years, menstrual products have commonly been seen as taboo items. Seeing tampons and pads or even simply mentioning the concept of periods can make people uncomfortable, especially those who didn’t grow up feeling like they could talk freely about the topic. However, periods are biological and are something that people who menstruate can’t control. 

These types of items aren’t always cheap, and the expenses can quickly add up over the months. On top of that, many people are raised to view periods as something to be ashamed of and something that should be kept hidden. While some people still hold onto this mindset, others are embracing change for the future. 

Fortunately, many people have begun to engage in conversations around the topic and are spreading awareness on how to help people who need menstrual products. Just like how toilet paper and paper towels are readily available in restrooms, many advocates have been fighting for period products to be included as well. Finally, the state of California has recognized this and is now requiring that all public school and college restrooms carry free menstrual products. 

A new law signed on Oct. 8, 2021, by California Governor Gavin Newsom built off previous legislations the state has passed over the years and is aimed at helping people who menstruate have period products more readily available to them. The most recent law also requires the products to be restocked. Although not every school is required to follow the new law, it’s a step forward in helping to provide many people with the products they need.

New Law Going Into Effect

For Illustration Purposes Only (With Models) - istockphoto,com/zoranm

NPR reported that a law in California from 2017 requires low-income schools in disadvantaged areas to provide students with free menstrual products. In early 2020, California also executed a law to eliminate sales tax on menstrual products, according to Business Insider. While many states in the United States still tax these products, several countries such as Australia and Canada have eliminated these taxes. 

The new law that Newsom signed on Oct. 8, 2021, will require all public schools and all public colleges to stock their restroom facilities with free period products, including tampons and pads. It affects schools with students in grades six through 12, as well as community colleges and schools in the California State University and University of California systems. The law will go into effect starting in the 2022-2023 school year. Although, as of now, the law does not require that private schools implement these new rules, these schools are encouraged to follow suit, as per NPR.

Democratic Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia spoke on the new 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,” she said. “Just as toilet paper and paper towels are provided in virtually every public bathroom, so should menstrual products.”

“California joins a growing number of states who lead the way in demonstrating that menstrual equity is a matter of human rights,” advocacy group PERIOD said in a statement, as per NPR. “No student should ever lose learning time due to their periods, period.”

For Illustration Purposes Only (With Models) - istockphoto,com/ShotShare

What do you think about this new law in California? Do you hope more states adopt it? Let us know, and be sure to pass this along to your family members and friends to find out what they think, too.

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