Earlier this month, Majority Leader Eloise Gómez Reyes introduced legislation to expand the Menstrual Equity for All Act of 2021 (Garcia) which created a requirement for public schools serving grades 6 through 12 to provide free menstrual products. Majority Leader Reyes’s bill, AB 230, would broaden this access to public schools serving grades 3 through 5.
“I have promised to support our community by listening to their needs,” said Majority Leader Reyes. “When an Inland Empire Girl Scouts troop proposed this bill due to needs they saw, I recognized it as a step toward continuing to keep our promises.”
Girl Scouts Troop 76 advocated for this change after two of its members worked on a related project to earn their Silver Award.
“Our group members saw students starting puberty earlier and wanted to help,” said Troop 76 Leader Julia Firnkoess. “When they learned about recent state legislation to provide period products in schools serving upper grades, our troop wanted the same service to be provided to those starting their cycles at a younger age. The group engaged with Majority Leader Reyes on the issue and we feel empowered to see the bill introduced by her.”
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services data shows a trend toward earlier onset of menstruation, with 10% of one 2020 study’s participants reaching this milestone before age 10. Although the reasons are not yet fully understood, early menstruation in the study occurred more commonly in Latino and Black participants, as well as lower-income communities. Majority Leader Reyes’s AB 230 will continue California’s progress toward period equity by expanding the availability of free menstrual products to more of the state’s most impacted students.
Assemblymember Eloise Gómez Reyes is the Majority Leader of the California State Assembly, representing Assembly District 50, which includes the cities of Colton, Fontana, Loma Linda, Ontario, Rancho Cucamonga, Redlands and San Bernardino, as well as unincorporated Bloomington