New Senate leadership could spell support for mandating free menstrual products in public school | Florida Dispensaries

New Senate leadership could spell support for mandating free menstrual products in public school

After years of hitting snags in Tallahassee, legislation that would require public schools to provide students with free menstrual products may now have a better shot at advancing, thanks to Senate President Kathleen Passidomo.

The measure (SB 334), which Senate Democratic Leader Lauren Book refiled this week, is called the “Learning with Dignity Act.” Its title is a reference to legislation Gov. Ron DeSantis signed in 2019 mandating that menstrual products be provided free to Florida’s female inmates.

Book’s bill and its House twin (HB 389), which Democratic Rep. Kelly Skidmore filed, would similarly mandate that public schools — including charter schools — must provide menstrual hygiene products at no charge to middle and high school students in each school nurse’s office and other health offices.

Unlike prior iterations of the legislation, including ones Book and former Democratic Rep. Michael Grieco carried last year, this year’s version would also require schools to stock tampons, sanitary pads and other related products in at least 25% of restrooms.

So school districts can do so responsibly and in a cost-efficient manner, the bill recommends partnerships with nonprofits, nongovernmental entities, businesses and “other organizations to assist in supplying and maintaining the required menstrual hygiene products.”

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