SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California public schools and colleges would have to stock their restrooms with free menstrual products under legislation sent to Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday.
The bill by Democratic Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia builds on her 2017 law requiring low-income schools in disadvantaged areas to provide students with free menstrual products. She also prompted the state to repeal a tax on menstrual products that she said cost women a collective $20 million a year.
The new legislation expands the 2017 law to 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.
There were no registered opponents and few opposition votes.
“Often periods arrive at inconvenient times. They can surprise us during an important midterm, while playing with our children at a park, sitting in a lobby waiting to interview for a job, shopping at the grocery store, or even standing on the Assembly floor presenting an important piece of legislation,” Garcia said in a statement.
Convenient access, she said, “would alleviate the anxiety of trying to find a product when out in public.”
Garcia calls herself the “period princess,” and her statement was emblazoned with a caricature drawing of her wearing a tiara and wearing a pink T-shirt saying, “Tampons, pads, menstrual cups and more!”
She said her measure was inspired by Scotland, which last year declared access to menstrual products to be a human right and required public places to provide them free of charge.
Ideally, Garcia said, menstrual products would be as common in restrooms as toilet paper and paper towels.