What’s on tap: Bill to provide feminine hygiene products in schools

What’s on tap: Bill to provide feminine hygiene products in schools

By HEATHER GANN, Alabama Daily News

Legislation to begin supplying femine hygiene products in some Title I public schools could get a vote in the Senate Finance and Taxation Education Committee at 11 a.m. today.

House Bill 50 does not require that period products be given to girls in low-income schools unless state funding is available. The 2023 education budget approved in the House provides $200,000 for grants to pay for tampons and sanitary pads.

Bill sponsor Rep. Rolanda Hollis, D- Birmingham, said the bill was necessary for the health and wellness of Alabama’s young women due to the lack of product access and financial difficulties some students might have during their periods every month.

Supplying period products to students in all Title I schools would cost about $2 million per year, according to a fiscal note on the bill.

Also on the committee’s agenda this morning is House Bill 331, to require Alabama 5 year olds attend kindergarten or take a readiness test before entering first grade. The bill would increase kindergarten enrollment by about 5,000 students per year.

The committee will also vote on House Bill 123 to require every public school system to hire a mental health services coordinator to oversee services to students. The requirement does come with state funding.

The committee will not vote on the 2023 education budget today, but meets again tomorrow to address the spending plan.

Also at 11 a.m. this morning is the Senate and House conference committee that will work out the differences between the Senate-passed $2.66 billion version and the House-passed $2.7 billion version.

The House convenes at 1 p.m. today, the Senate at 3 p.m.

The House’s special order calendar includes the proposed Alabama Numeracy Act to beef up math education in grades K-5 and House Bill 230 to regulate the medical care and treatment of pregnant inmates in Alabama Department of Corrections’ prisons.

Also at the bottom of the calendar is House Bill 423 from Rep. Paul Lee, R-Dothan, providing further regulation over the proliferation of telemedicine in Alabama.