Bill drafted by Albuquerque students would put free tampons in public school bathrooms
SANTA FE, N.M. – A bill that would put free tampons and other menstrual products in public school bathrooms is gaining support at the Roundhouse.
The House Education Committee passed House Bill 134 in a 10-0 vote, moving it forward in the legislative process.
But HB 134 didn’t get its start in the Roundhouse – it actually started in a high school classroom.
Earlier this school year, four Academy High School seniors got the idea to start supplying their school bathrooms with free tampons and pads, and their good deed didn’t go unnoticed.
“When we went down to look at the bathrooms to make sure all the products were stocked in the sixth-grade bathrooms, we found a wall of sticky notes,” said Noor Ali, a high school student who helped draft the bill.
Notes that said: “Thank you!” and “You’re my savior,” motivated them to take their idea another step further to the Legislature.
“We did a mock draft of the bill it’s very similar to HB 134, so we wrote that and then we cold-emailed representatives. And then it was Ortez and Trujillo who responded to us and from there we talked to other representatives who supported it,” said Mireya Macias, another student who helped draft the bill.
With sponsors on board, the teens took their bill to its first committee.
The bill is very straightforward, it would require all public schools to provide free menstrual products in their women’s bathrooms and gender-neutral bathrooms.
The committee hearing included testimony from other high school students who often struggle to find the products they needed before class.
That testimony was enough to pass the first committee.
“Sitting in that room being surrounded by young high schoolers and female representatives that supported our bill really felt powerful, it felt like we are not only starting a conversation about reproductive rights, but also just bringing us into the conversation,” said Sophia Liem.
“I’m so amazed by their energy, by their ability to see this a civic engagement issue. This not only will ensure the safety of young girls, but it will really- as you seen they are getting really excited about the whole process of Democracy,” said state Rep. Kristina Ortez.
This bill is asking the state for $3 million to be given to schools across the state to provide these free menstrual products.
Ortez says the next stop for this bill is the Appropriations Committee to make sure funds make it into the final budget. She expects to go in front of that committee in the next couple of weeks.
Track HB 134 during the legislative session.