Politics

Pads, tampons would be offered for free in state, local buildings and schools under new bill

MADISON, Wis. - Menstrual products would be more easily accessible in state and local buildings, as well as schools under a new bill a Democratic state lawmaker is introducing.

Rep. Melissa Sargent said menstrual products are "not a luxury good, nor a government handout" in a news release.

"Menstrual products are necessities, not luxuries, and the over 50% of the population who menstruate here in Wisconsin should not have to continue to face the undue and unjust burdens of inaccessibility to essential hygiene products," Sargent said in the release.

The bill requires that restrooms in buildings owned, leased or occupied by the state and local governments have tampons or pads available at no charge.

School districts, charter schools and private schools in a parental choice program would also be required to have tampons and pads available for free in bathrooms under the bill.

Sargent cited research showing that the average menstruating person uses almost 17,000 tampons or pads in their life, but two out of three people living below the poverty line have had to go without hygiene products due to cost.

She said data shows the cost of providing menstrual products is "significantly less" than the cost of soap, toilet paper, paper towels and other bathroom supplies currently provided.

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