BATON ROUGE–The House passed a bill 79-17 Wednesday that would provide free menstrual products to students in public schools.
House Bill 117 would require public schools to provide free tampons and pads in easily accessible locations. Charter schools are exempt from the bill.
The Legislature would have to approve funding each year for the bill to be in effect that year.
The funding for the products would come from the state’s general fund. Schools may provide the products in bathrooms, offices or other locations.
The first year of funding also would include providing dispensers for products.
Rep. Aimee Freeman, D-New Orleans, brought the bill back after it stalled on the Senate floor last year.
The bill passed both the House Education Committee and the House Appropriations Committee unopposed this year, and it now goes to the Senate.
Lacey Gero, manager of state policy for Alliance for Period Supplies, spoke at a hearing in April.
“Two in five women struggle to purchase period products due to lack of income,” Gero said. “This is called period poverty.”
Period poverty is one of the leading causes of truancy for young girls. According to one study, one in four students struggle to afford menstrual products.
Last year, the state sales tax was removed from the products.