Free Menstrual Products Could Be Coming To Framingham

FRAMINGHAM (State House News Service) — In an effort to reduce period poverty, a subcommittee of the Framingham City Council is set to discuss a proposed ordinance Thursday night that would require restrooms in the city's public buildings to offer free menstrual products.

Chair Isabella Petroni said at a March 30 council meeting that this is the first ordinance drafted by the City's Youth Council, which was established in 2019. "The promise of the future with the people in this group and the people who work with the Youth Council -- it's bright," Councilor Robert Case said at the meeting.

This is not the first time Mass. youth have advocated for access to menstrual products. In 2019, Brookline became the first municipality in the United States to offer free menstrual products in all public restrooms after local students advocated for the initiative. That year, Medway High School student Caroline Williams also worked with Rep. Jeffrey Roy on a bill to require Massachusetts public schools to make these products available in their restrooms for free.

A refiled version (H 690) is up for an Education Committee hearing Thursday at noon. Another bill (S 1445), before the Public Health Committee, would require correctional facilities, temporary housing shelters and public schools to offer period products free of charge.

At an April 28 meeting of the Framingham council's subcommittee on ordinances and rules, Councilor John Stefanini said the Framingham School Committee is also working on an initiative to stock bathrooms in the city's public schools with free menstrual supplies. During that meeting, Stefanini told subcommittee members that the city's solicitor is reviewing the ordinance to hash out any questions about implementation before forwarding the measure to the full council.

Thursday's subcommittee meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. and will be held remotely.

By Meg McIntyre, State House News Service

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