The House Education Committee convened on Thursday, January 23 to consider two bills, including a bill that seeks to provide free feminine hygiene products in schools.
Under House Bill 2464, feminine products would be donated to schools and distributed to students free of cost. Although there is nothing currently in legislation that prohibits donations, this bill explicitly allows schools to solicit donations from individuals, private businesses and nonprofits.
Delegate Lisa Zukoff, D-Marshall, voiced her concerns for this issue during the committee meeting.
“[A lack of free feminine products] is a huge absentee issue in our state. If students don’t have access to these products, they won’t go to school,” she said.
Zukoff and a few other delegates wish to further this legislation by offering state or school board provided feminine products for lower-income counties in the state. At this time, the Education Committee decided to leave the fiscal note out of the bill and keep the products provided donation based.
This caused concerns for a few members of the committee. Delegates said they were concerned that lower-income counties, which have the highest need for free products, would receive less donations from individuals due to the higher need and financial status of people in the community.
The original bill was amended to include female students of all grade levels. Initially the bill was exclusive to female students from grades 6-12.
This bill will be examined in finance next before being reported to the full House.