Bill to bring free menstrual products to public schools passes subcommittee


A bill that would require public and charter schools to provide free menstrual products unanimously passed the Appropriations and Budget Education Subcommittee on Feb. 20. 

HB 3329, authored by State Rep. Cynthia Roe, R-Lindsay, seeks to require public and charter schools teaching sixth through 12th grades to provide free menstrual products in female, gender-neutral and handicapped accessible bathrooms, as well as a neutral location, like a nurse’s office. For elementary schools, the menstrual products will only be required at the neutral campus locations. 

If passed, Oklahoma will join more than two-dozen states that require schools to provide free female hygiene products. The details in legislation vary from state to state. Some bills provide funding for the products, while others have established unfunded mandates. 

California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, and Oregon are all states that fund and require the products. By being able to provide these products in schools, it could address the 86% of people that have unexpectedly started their periods in a public space, according to the State of the Period 2023, an annual report issued by Thinx, Inc. and

Millwood High School’s student council called attention to the issue. The student-led organization contacted Superintendent Cecilia Robinson-Wood after students complained that there was a lack of menstrual products in the school bathrooms. 

The council also attached a plan that demonstrated the school provided the products to the students at no charge. Robinson-Wood contacted her local state lawmaker, State Sen. George Young, D-Oklahoma City, who filed a similar bill last year, but the bill was unable to get a committee hearing. 

Affording feminine hygiene products is an issue that can be observed across the nation. Two in five women struggle to afford menstrual products in the United States, according to the Alliance for Period Supplies. According to the 2021 U.S Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, Oklahoma was ranked 44 out of 50, with 19.7% of the female population ages 18-44 having lived below the poverty level. 

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