Watch UNFILTERED Live Tonight (March 14) on GVWire.com at 6 p.m. as we discuss this topic!
California public schools are required to provide free menstrual products such as tampons in all girls’ restrooms, all gender restrooms, and at least one boys’ restroom.
But two years after Assembly Bill 367 was signed into law, the requirement to distribute menstrual products in boys’ restrooms has become a flashpoint among conservatives. In Oregon, where a similar law passed in 2021, new legislation to remove the requirement to provide menstrual products in boys’ restrooms has been proposed.
(GV Wire’s live stream show “Unfiltered” will tackle the subject of menstrual products in boys’ restrooms at 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 14. You can view Unfiltered on gvwire.com, facebook.com/gvwire, and youtube.com/gvwire.)
Supporters of providing supplies in boys’ and men’s restrooms say it’s a matter of gender equity for not only girls and women but also for transgender boys and men and nonbinary and gender nonconforming people.
There were no registered opponents and little opposition when the “Menstrual Equity for All Act of 2021” was signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom on Oct. 8, 2021.
Assembly Bill 367 passed the Assembly and Senate with zero “no” votes. Valley legislators voting yes included Democrat Assemblymembers Dr. Joaquin Arambula and Adam Gray, Republican Assemblymembers Devon Mathis and Jim Patterson, Democrat Sen. Melissa Hurtado, and Republican Senators Andreas Borgeas and Shannon Grove. No vote was recorded for Republican Assemblymember Frank Bigelow.
AB 367 required schools serving students in grades 6 through 12 as well as the California State University and community college districts to provide free menstrual products no later than the start of the current school year.
In addition, the law requires public agencies — city, county, and state — that maintain public restrooms to stock free menstrual supplies in at least 50% of restrooms open to the public and also those restrooms used by agency employees.
The law also “encourages” the University of California as well as private colleges and universities to stock at least 50% of restrooms with free menstrual products.
AB 367 Expanded Previous Law
Under the previous California law, schools with at least a 40% poverty rate among students were required to provide free menstrual products in at least 50% of the school’s restrooms.
The arguments in favor of providing the free products include reducing missed instruction time for students who didn’t have ready access to menstrual products.
The Assembly Appropriations Committee estimated in 2021 that the cost of installing dispensers in schools, colleges, and universities could total $9.2 million, and the cost of providing supplies could total $5.9 million annually. The committee had no estimate for the potential cost to install dispensers and provide supplies in public agency restrooms.
The Senate Appropriations Committee analysis estimated the cost to install dispensers in public schools at $2 million and for supplies at $1.3 million in public schools. In the analysis, the California Community College Chancellor’s Office estimated the Proposition 98 General Fund costs would range from $57,500 to $115,000 annually to provide menstrual products at a central location at each of the system’s 115 campuses. Meanwhile, the CSU estimated annual costs of $750,000 to $800,000 to provide the products at college health centers, and the UC estimated the annual cost in the “low tens of thousands of dollars.”
Because the program is a state mandate, the state is responsible for covering the costs of dispenser installation and supplies.