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Utah lawmaker wants to assure access to tampons and pads in school

Nov 17, 2021, 7:41 PM

tampons and pads...

Nov. 17, 2021: Utah lawmakers and The Period Project announce a bill at the Utah State Capitol. Photo credit: Lindsay Aerts

SALT LAKE CITY — Rep. Karianne Lisonbee wants to help put tampons and sanitary pads in public and charter junior and high schools in Utah.

Lisonbee has sponsored a bill that would do just that. And she has a $2 million donation to help the state pay for the dispensers. She, along with Utah lawmakers, made the announcement at the Utah State Capitol on Wednesday.

Missed school, missed opportunity

Emily Bell McCormick, with the Period Project, says having these dispensers in schools would have a dramatic effect on the lives of girls.

“We know that 68% of girls, so almost seven in ten girls have missed school because of lack of access to period products,” McCormick said.

She said there’s a misconception about period products in school. People believe, she said, that like soap and toilet paper, pads and tampons are provided for free.

“That’s not true. They’re not in the state budget, they’re not in school’s budgets.”

Rep. Lisonbee says a $2 million donation from the Gail Miller and Andrus Family Foundation would pay for the dispensers, and that lawmakers would ask for about $4 million to fill the dispensers.

“It’s really critical to make sure that girls can stay in school, that they can experience their educational opportunities with dignity. Without fear of embarrassment. Without being caught off guard, ” Lisonbee said at a public announcement about the bill on Wednesday.

In 2020, Utah lawmakers passed a tax reform bill that eliminated the “tampon tax.”  However, the bill was overturned after public outcry and in 2022 tampons are considered to be “non-essential” and are taxed in Utah.

The Period Project reports that people in the United States spend more than $2 billion annually on menstrual health products. 

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Utah lawmaker wants to assure access to tampons and pads in school