|December 2, 2022 10:39 AM
|Senator Maria Collett and Sen. Amanda M. Cappelletti
|All Senate members
|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 will 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. With the average cost of MPs increasing 10% in the last year, this lack of public access is especially challenging for and punitive to those living in poverty. These are products our government could purchase at a reduced rate, with negligible implementation costs.
That’s why we will soon be introducing legislation entitled the Pennsylvania Menstrual Equity Act. The bill is modeled after H.R. 1882 of the 116th Congress and will require Pennsylvania’s public agencies serving those who are young, low-income, homeless, or incarcerated to make these products available at no cost. The legislation was introduced as SB 602 in the 2021-2022 session.
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. With this legislation, the Commonwealth can once again be a leader in reducing period poverty.
We urge our colleagues in the General Assembly to join us in supporting and passing this bill.
Introduced as SB906