Senate committee approves plan for free menstrual hygiene products in college bathrooms

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Free menstrual products might become available to college students in Illinois under a plan moving through the Senate.

The proposal that passed out of the House last month would require public universities and community colleges to provide the products in bathrooms of buildings they own and lease.

Sen. Karina Villa says period poverty is real. The West Chicago Democrat says her legislation could truly help students in need.

While some universities worry this could lead to people stealing the hygiene products, Villa says she thinks people will take the products when they need them.

“As someone who does menstruate, I wouldn’t walk into a bathroom and steal products if I didn’t need one. This isn’t about stealing products,” Villa added. “This is about making sure that our students are able to go to class on a regular basis.”

Republicans asked Villa how much her proposal could cost. The sponsor couldn’t provide an exact answer, but she says lawmakers should continue to help students in any way possible.

The proposal passed out of the Senate Higher Education Committee on a partisan 9-4 vote. It now heads to the Senate floor for consideration. The plan would head to Gov. JB Pritzker’s desk if approved by the Senate.

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