Updated: Apr 6
“HB50 is on the special order calendar in the senate today. If it passes with no amendments, the bill will become law upon the Governor’s signature,” announced Amanda R. Brown, Chief of Staff, Senate Minority Caucus.
This is a great day for girls in Alabama’s public schools! State Rep. Rolanda M. Hollis introduced bills for three consecutive years to require public school districts to provide menstrual products to students who menstruate. House Bill 50, when it becomes law, will provide $200,000 in funding to the Alabama State Department of Education for grants to Title I schools so they could provide much-needed menstrual supplies to students.
Several other states have already passed similar legislation to provide period products to students, including California, Illinois, New Hampshire, New York, Virginia and, most recently, Utah. US Congresswoman Grace Meng of New York introduced the Menstrual Equity for All Act of 2021 to provide federal support for menstruators.
In 2020, the Alabama State Legislature never voted on the bill because the COVID-19 pandemic caused the session to close early. In 2021, Brooke Bennett, co-founder of Women in Training, Inc., testified in front of the House Ways and Means Education Committee to support HB 88. Brooke was concerned about whether she could touch the hearts of the mostly male legislators on the committee. Yet, the bill passed unanimously. HB 88 also passed unanimously in the full state House of Representatives. However, with only three days remaining in the session, the bill never reached the state Senate for a vote.
So, here we are in 2022, and Rep. Hollis has introduced the current version of the bill, which is now known as HB 50. Several WIT Young Leaders from LAMP Academic Magnet High School – Hannah Huston, Makayla McDonald, Jonilah Megie, Esther Shon, and Cailin White – and Gabrielle Johns from Brewbaker Technology Magnet High School, joined Rep. Hollis, and Breanna and Brooke this year at the House Ways and Means Education Committee hearing. Several WIT board members, including Bradley Bennett, Stephanie McCorvey and Khadidah Stone, also joined them. Lindsay Gray from Bundles of Hope Diaper Bank in Birmingham, and Sandra Washington and Chandra Spicer of Junior League of Montgomery Associates, also joined the girls at the meeting. This important menstrual legislation passed unanimously again in both the committee and the House. Furthermore, more than 50 women and men representatives from both the Democratic and Republican parties signed on as bill co-sponsors.
Sen. Linda Coleman-Madison is now carrying the bill in the Senate.
Sen. Arthur Orr, chairman of the Senate Finance and Taxation Education Committee, scheduled a hearing on HB 50 when legislators returned from Spring Break. Sen. Bobby Singleton, Senate Minority Leader, spoke on behalf of the bill in committee. The committee members voted unanimously to pass the bill onto the full Senate floor. Karli Pinnette from Birmingham, and her two school-age sons, traveled to Montgomery to support the bill. Sandra Whatley Washington of Junior League of Montgomery Associates and Kathy Jones, President of the Alabama League of Women Voters, also attended the hearing to support HB 50.
Thank you to Sen. J.T. (Jabo) Waggoner, Chairman of the Senate Rules Committee, for scheduling House Bill 50 on the Senate’s special order calendar for April 5, 2022.
Stay tuned for results of the Senate vote!