Virginia Senate passes bill for schools to provide menstrual products

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — The Virginia Senate unanimously passed a bill Tuesday requiring public schools to include free menstrual products in their bathrooms.

Senate Bill 232 applies to schools that educate fifth-to-12th graders. According to the Virginia Department of Education, this encompasses 132 school districts and almost over 630,000 female students.

The bill’s sponsor Democratic state Sen. Jennifer Boysko, who represents parts of Fairfax and Loudoun counties, said that menstrual products are definitely a necessity for girls who attend schools.

Boysko said that there’s a good amount of data that there are students in Virginia and all over the world who are not able to go to school because they don’t have the products.

“They can’t afford them,” Boysko said.

Most schools provide these products in the nurse’s office, but “as all of us women understand, sometimes, we don’t have time to get to the nurse’s office, and it can end up being a little embarrassing,” she said.

In March 2019, Gov. Ralph Northam signed legislation that lowered the sales tax rate on essential personal hygiene products. The legislation taxes those products at 2.5%, instead of 5.3% or even higher in some parts of the state.

The lower sales tax went into effect Jan. 1.

WTOP’s Michelle Murillo contributed to this report.

 

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