State Watch

Georgia will provide free menstrual hygiene products to low-income girls, women

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Lawmakers in Georgia have set aside funds in the state’s multibillion-dollar budget for the first time to provide low-income women and girls with free menstrual pads and tampons. 

Lawmakers decided to allocate $1.5 million out the state’s $27.5 billion budget for the 2020 fiscal year to fund the effort, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The funding will go toward both schools and community centers located in low-income areas.

{mosads}State House Speaker Pro Tempore Jan Jones (R) reportedly negotiated with lawmakers to have the funding included in the 2020 budget after she derailed efforts earlier this year to have the 4 percent tax on feminine hygiene products lifted. 

Under the new spending plan, $1 million will be allocated from the budget to the Georgia Department of Education to ease the burden of young girls who miss school because their families are struggling to purchase feminine hygiene products. 

Another $500,000 would be set aside for county health departments in the state to provide tampons and pads to low-income women.

Though the $1.5 million allocated for the effort is not guaranteed to be factored into the state’s future budgets, state Rep. Kim Schofield, who was one of several Democratic lawmakers in the state that worked to have the 4 percent tax removed from menstrual products, is hopeful the spending plan will be recurring. 

 “I’m elated that recognition is going to be given to the kids that need it most,” Schofield told the local paper. “This is a gap that the state has graciously decided to fill.”

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