Colorado Legislature Introduces "Free Menstrual Products to Students" Bill

Bill would ensure Colorado middle and high school students have access to free period products in restrooms

DENVER – (February 29, 2024) – Justice Necessary, a Colorado-based nonprofit, in collaboration with legislative champions Representative Brianna Titone (HD 27, Jefferson) and Representative Jenny Wilford (HD 34, Adams) who serve as co-prime sponsors in the House, while Senator Janet Buckner (SD 29, Arapahoe) and Senator Faith Winter (SD 25, Adams, Broomfield, Weld) serve as co-prime sponsors in the Senate, have introduced “Free Menstrual Products to Students, HB24-1164” to Colorado’s 74th General Assembly. 

If passed, it would ensure that period products are accessible in school bathrooms to students enrolled in sixth through twelfth grade, building on the existing “Menstrual Hygiene Products Accessibility Grant Program” to support more Colorado school districts in providing products.

“As Chair of the Senate Education Committee, my focus is on fostering a supportive and equitable environment for Colorado students. This legislation is a crucial step in this direction. It's about ensuring that every student can access the resources they need to succeed, creating a more inclusive and nurturing environment for our community," said Senator Buckner.

In Colorado, 90 percent of female teens have started their period unexpectedly in public without the necessary supplies, 80 percent of female teens have missed class due to a lack of period products, and 65 percent of female teens have missed opportunities to participate in before/after school activities due to a lack of period supplies, according to the Colorado Teen Period Poverty Study 2024, commissioned by Justice Necessary in January 2024.

“Access to period products isn't just about hygiene – it's about empowering students to fully participate in their education, sports, extracurricular activities, and all aspects of life, ensuring their potential knows no bounds,” said Founder and President of Justice Necessary Diane Cushman Neal.

“Ensuring access to period products in schools is a vital component of my commitment to supporting Colorado families and students,” said Representative Wilford. “When students can access period products, they can focus on their education without the worry of menstrual interruptions, ultimately contributing to their overall well-being and success in our state."

"Schools provide essential items like toilet paper and hand soap to address basic bodily needs. It's only logical that we should also ensure students have easy access to period products to support their uninterrupted education and well-being,” said Representative Brianna Titone.

"Period products in schools aren't just about convenience; it's a matter of upholding the dignity and well-being of every student. No one should face barriers in their education due to a lack of essential items. We are taking a necessary step towards a more compassionate and inclusive educational environment where every student can thrive,” said Senator Winter.

“With over 370 dispensers across 35 of our middle and high schools, Jeffco Public Schools has seen an incredibly positive impact in partnership with Justice Necessary over the years,” said Superintendent Tracy Dorland. “It’s always a priority of mine that our district fosters learning environments where students can show up to school and focus on just that – their learning and classroom engagement.”

“Providing these products – which are necessities, not luxuries – builds support our students need to feel safe and secure in their school setting,” said Jeffco Public Schools Director of Health Services Margaret Huffman. “It is a simple solution to a significant challenge.”

Advocates rallying behind the bill include the American Academy of Pediatrics-Colorado Chapter, Colorado Education Association, AFT Colorado, Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights, I Support the Girls, Alliance for Period Supplies, PERIOD., The Women’s Foundation of Colorado, Grace Upon Grace Project, Project Distributing Dignity, State Innovation Exchange Action, Colorado Fiscal Institute, Red Equity, Nourish Colorado, State Innovation Exchange Action, and The Junior League.

“The pursuit of student learning and engagement is a shared objective: ensuring access to fully stocked restrooms facilitates this crucial endeavor," said Cushman Neal.