|Posted:||October 7, 2019 10:00 AM|
|From:||Senator Maria Collett|
|To:||All Senate members|
|Subject:||The Pennsylvania Menstrual Equity Act|
|In restroom facilities across our Commonwealth, products like toilet paper, paper towels, soap and trash receptacles are made available at no public cost because of their necessity to basic health and hygiene. Pennsylvania first codified this requirement nearly a century ago in 1921. See 34 PA Section 41.33.
And yet, at least 51% of all Pennsylvanians enter those same facilities and find their basic hygiene needs not fully met.
As Pennsylvanian girls and women know all too well, Menstrual Products (MPs) can be nearly impossible to access in public facilities. While the same 1921 Act outlined the need for “covered receptacles” in women’s bathrooms, no requirements have ever been set for MPs. This lack of access to a basic necessity can lead to compromised health, embarrassment due to stigma, even missed days of work or school. Lack of public access is especially challenging for and punitive to those living in poverty.
That’s why I will soon be introducing legislation entitled the Pennsylvania Menstrual Equity Act. The bill will be modeled after H.R. 1882 of the 116th Congress and will require Pennsylvania’s public agencies that serve those who are young, low-income, homeless, or incarcerated to make these products available at no cost.
Pennsylvania was one of the first states to remove the so-called “pink tax” of MPs in 1991, acknowledging that these items are a necessity to ensure the health, dignity – and equity – of millions of Pennsylvanians.
I urge my colleagues in the General Assembly to join me in supporting and passing this bill.
Introduced as SB956