Newly introduced legislation would ensure that Californians have access to free menstrual products in workplaces and public buildings, according to state Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley.
Skinner, chair of the California Legislative Women’s Caucus, brought forward Senate Bill 59, “Equity, Period,” which states that all state-owned buildings and any places that administer state services, as well as state-funded hospitals, would provide free period products in women’s and all-gender bathrooms.
“We expect restrooms in public spaces to provide basic essentials for health and sanitation, but this expectation fails to recognize that more than half of our state’s population needs more than toilet paper and hand washing supplies,” Skinner said in a news release.
The products would also be placed in one men’s restroom per building, according to Skinner.
“Toilet paper is expected to be free and accessible to everyone in our public restrooms. Menstrual products should be treated the same.”Sen. Nancy Skinner
A principal co-author of SB 59 is Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry, who is the vice chair of the Legislative Women’s Caucus.
Access to menstrual products has increased due to the state enacting budget and legislative policies that included ending the tax on period products and requiring that they be given out free of charge.
These items as of now can be found free in the State Capitol building, public schools of grades 6-12, community colleges, and the California State University system.
“Toilet paper is expected to be free and accessible to everyone in our public restrooms,” said Skinner. “Menstrual products should be treated the same.”
Additionally, Los Angeles and San Diego counties last year were allocated $2 million through the state budget to support a free menstrual product-distribution pilot program.
Victoria Franco is a reporter based in Stockton covering San Joaquin County for Bay City News Foundation and its nonprofit news site Local News Matters. She is a Report for America corps member.