OLYMPIA, Wash. — Menstrual products will be provided at no cost at schools across Washington State by 2022.
Governor Jay Inslee signed a bill Monday requiring school to provide free menstrual products to students. House Bill 1273 says school must provide menstrual hygiene products in all gender-neutral and female bathrooms by the beginning of the 2022-23 school year. If a school serving grades six through twelve does not have a gender-neutral bathroom, then the products must also be available in at least one bathroom accessible to male students or in a school health room, the bill states. The bill also applies to colleges and universities.
The products include sanitary napkins, tampons or similar items. College and universities must bear the cost of supplying the products, however they may seek grants or partner with nonprofit or community-based organizations to help with the costs.
The bill was introduced in January 2021 and was passed by both the House and Senate in April.
In 2020, the Legislature passed another bill that exempts menstrual products from the state’s sales tax. Washington is currently among 31 states that still tax menstrual products, according to Period Equity, a nonprofit group that is campaigning to end the so-called “tampon tax” in states.