Bill that requires universities to give free feminine hygiene products

Jelyn Washington-Mays

A proposed bill in the Kentucky legislature would force state-funded colleges and universities to provide at least one type of feminine hygiene product to students for free.

Representative Attica Scott, a Democrat of Louisville, prefiled the bill— HB 85— in the Kentucky House. If the bill is passed in the legislature, those enrolled in Kentucky colleges will have students at the University of Louisville to thank.

Scott said the bill was brought to her and Senator Julie Raque Adams by UofL students and their faculty adviser from the campus’ women’s center. She said she chose the bill because it is in line with her goal of advocating for the women and impoverished of the state.

Scott said she hopes the female majority in the Kentucky Democratic Caucus and their support for HB 85 will demonstrate the importance of this issue to the male members of the caucus, which will then hopefully push them to garner support from the Republican state caucus.

The biggest obstacle standing between Scott and the passing of HB 85 is her race, she said. According to Scott, in 2018 not a single bill drafted by any African-American Kentucky representatives were heard.

“The beauty of it all is seeing Attica, a Democrat and Julie, a Republican come together for an issue that really is bipartisan when you think about it,” said Teena Halbig, the policy chair of the American Association of University Women, Louisville chapter.

Halbig played a big role in creating the bill. She approached Scott and Adams about their possibly sponsoring the bill after she was asked herself to help get the bill passed.

“If men are uncomfortable with it, they just have to be uncomfortable with it,” Halbig said.

She also said that the issue is an education issue and matter of gender inequity.

As far as UK’s campus is concerned, students in need of feminine hygiene products are able to find them for free in the women’s bathrooms of the classroom and administrative buildings on campus, according to Jay Blanton, a university spokesperson.

Scott is also proposing a bill that would eliminate the “pink tax”— the tax on feminine hygiene products. That bill would also remove tax from infant products such as diapers and wipes.