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Monday, April 15, 2019

State of Georgia to Provide Free Menstrual Products For Low-Income Women

Free menstrual products for women in Georgia

Atlanta, GA — For the first time, lawmakers in Georgia have approved a $1.5 million budget to provide free menstrual products for low-income women and girls across the state. It hopes to address the problem of families struggling to buy feminine hygiene products.

According to reports, state lawmakers decided to allocate $1.5 million from the state’s $27.5 billion budget for the 2020 fiscal year, which will begin on July 1.

$1 million will be allocated directly to the Georgia Department of Education to lessen school absences of young girls who don’t have enough money to buy menstrual pads or tampons. The other $500,000 will be set aside for county health departments in the state to provide free menstrual products to low-income women.

The organizations are now working on determining the best way possible to distribute the money to the rightful recipients.

State Rep. Kim Schofield and other Democrats initially proposed to remove the state’s 4 percent tax on menstrual products, but it wasn’t approved in the past two legislative sessions. House Speaker Pro Tempore Jan Jones then negotiated to include the money in the spending plan after discouraging the efforts to remove the tax on menstrual products earlier this year.

“I’m elated that recognition is going to be given to the kids that need it most,” Schofield told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “This is a gap that the state has graciously decided to fill.”

Though the $1.5 million allocated for menstrual products has been approved as a one-time budget this year, Jones and Schofield are confident that it will be a part of the budget in the future as well. Schofield still also hopes that the tax on menstrual products, which is a necessity for most women and girls, could be lifted.

“Yes, let’s address this basic issue for students so they can have what they need so it doesn’t disrupt learning,” Schofield said. “But for adults, we need to take the tax off, just plain and simple.”