Lawmakers in the Georgia General Assembly have pre-filed legislation to make feminine hygiene products both more accessible and more affordable, if not free, in some locations.
State representatives Sandra Scott, Viola Davis, and Kim Schofield pre-filed House Bill House Bill 861, House Bill 863 and House Bill 864 addressing where women can obtain feminine hygiene products and at what cost when they are on state-funded buildings.
House Bill 861: seeks to to increase access to disposable menstrual products in public schools, penal institutions, certain social service shelters, and housing facilities. The bill would:
- include sanitary napkins, tampon
- require school systems to provide disposable menstrual products in all restrooms of such school building or buildings for menstruating individuals, and underwear liners where students in grades 6 through 12 attend school
- the products but be free, but be readily available, and must be available in a way that does not ‘stigmatize’ menstruating individuals.
- HB 861 calls for the same products and availability for:
- all jails and prisons inside the state of Georgia
- all temporary housing facilities, including, but not limited to, a family shelter, a shelter for adults, a hotel used for emergency shelter, an emergency apartment, a domestic violence shelter, a runaway and homeless youth shelter, or a safe house for refugees
The legislation does not reference ‘females’ or ‘women’ but rather defines the persons in need as ‘menstruating individuals.’
House Bill 863: requires that menstrual hygiene products be made available, at no cost to students, in the bathrooms of facilities or portions of facilities of institutions of the University System of Georgia AND the Technical College System of Georgia that are:
- Owned or leased by the board or over which the board has care, custody, and control AND
- Used for student instruction or administrative purposes.
House Bill 864: would create a waiver request to allow those on public assistance to use their benefits to purchase diapers or menstrual hygiene products
- This would only take effect if the United States Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service makes such waiver available to states
Lawmakers will return to the Capitol the second Monday in January.