MONTGOMERY, Ala (AP) — The Alabama Legislature on Thursday advanced a bill to require public schools to provide menstrual products to students, but women in the House of Representatives noted that lawmakers took up the measure too late for it to have much of a chance of reaching final passage.
The Alabama House of Representatives voted 97-0 for the bill by Rep. Rolanda Hollis of Birmingham. It would require public schools to make feminine hygiene products available free of charge to students in grades five through 12. Hollis said “period poverty” affects every county in the state.
“Some of us have resources for our girls and some of us don’t. You have parents picking, ‘Should I get this can of soup for a meal this evening or should I get this pack of tampons or pads,’” Hollis said.
“Some of the girls say, ‘I go get my dad’s white socks because they are thick.’ And they make their products with socks or paper towels.”
The bill was approved without a dissenting vote and now moves to the Alabama Senate. However, with three meeting days left in the session, it is unlikely to reach final passage. Female legislators in both parties thanked Hollis for introducing the bill.
Rep. Laura Hall, a Democrat from Huntsville, said it was sad that the legislation is realistically not going anywhere. Hollis said she worked all session to try to get the bill moved and is hopeful lawmakers will move quicker next year.
Hollis said the bill was inspired by 13-year-old twins Brooke and Breanna Bennett. The Montgomery teens are the founders of Women in Training Inc. and distribute menstrual and hygiene products every month to teens in need.