New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu (R) signed a bill into law on Wednesday that requires all public schools to provide free tampons and pads to students.
“This legislation is about equality and dignity,” Sununu tweeted. “SB 142 will help ensure young women in New Hampshire public schools will have the freedom to learn without disruption ― and free of shame, or fear of stigma.”
The legislation, also known as the period poverty bill, requires menstrual products to be provided in all female and gender-neutral bathrooms in public middle and high schools across the state.
Democratic state Rep. Polly Campion, a co-sponsor of the bill, called the legislation an “essential measure for equality” in a Wednesday statement.
“Being an adolescent middle or high-schooler is hard enough without the fear and embarrassment of lacking proper care products during the school-day because you cannot afford them,” she said. ”... Providing access to free menstrual care products in public middle and high school bathrooms is not idealistic, it’s a basic, essential measure for equality and is long overdue.”
The bill was spearheaded by New Hampshire high school senior Caroline Dillon after she learned about how many people are forced to miss school or work because they can’t afford pads and tampons. Dillon, who worked with Democratic state Sen. Martha Hennessey to draft the measure in March, testified in front of the state Senate’s Education and Workforce Development Committee in February.
“It was sad to think about,” Dillon said during the committee hearing, the Concord Monitor reported. “Girls in middle and high school would never dream of telling somebody that they have to miss school or use socks because they can’t pay for pads.”
Hennessey thanked Dillon for all of her hard work on the bill in a Wednesday statement.
“I am grateful for the hard work of high school student Caroline Dillon, whose advocacy brought this issue to light,” she wrote. “Today’s step forward to address period poverty in New Hampshire would not have been possible without her.
Last month, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh (D) announced that the city would provide free menstrual products in all public middle and high schools. New York and Illinois are among other states that also provide free tampons and pads to students in public schools.
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