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Colorado guarantees free access to period products for middle and high school students

The bill was passed and is expected to go fully into effect by 2028. (Justice Necessary/Courtesy Photo)
Colorado is the 20th state to provide free period products

Gov. Jared Polis on June 5 signed House Bill 1164, which will require Colorado schools to provide free period products to female middle and high school students by 2028.

The measure, which is known as the “Free Menstrual Products to Students” bill, was sponsored by Rep. Brianna Titone, Rep. Jenny Wilford, Sen. Janet Buckner, Sen. Faith Winter and coalition lead, founder and president of Justice Necessary, Diana Cushman Neal.

“This bill creates more access to women’s health products and I am proud that the state is stepping up to ensure all students can succeed and thrive in the classroom without worrying about paying for the care products they need,” Polis said.

Though the bill won’t fully require schools to provide free products until 2028, the bill requires the general assembly to designate an additional $100,000 to the Menstrual Hygiene Products Grant program for the 2024-2025 fiscal year.

Diane Cushman Neal, founder and president of Justice Necessary. (Justice Necessary/Courtesy photo)

School districts that are eligible can apply for grant funding that will assist in the cost of feminine hygiene products and/or dispensers. The bill was also created to ensure that all rural schools in Colorado are eligible to apply for the appropriated grant funding.

“By signing this bill today, Gov. Polis is ensuring every student across the state can go to school without worrying about when your period might arrive, or if you have the products you need to manage it,” Cushman Neal said. “I am proud to live in a state that ensures students can attend class without the worry of having the necessary products to manage their periods, because access to period products, just is necessary.”

According to information from the Colorado Teen Period Poverty Study 2024 provided by Justice Necessary, 90% of teens in Colorado start their period unexpectedly in public without proper period products. Out of that percentage, 59% said they struggle to afford or access period products, “unjustly impacting the education of students who experience a period.”

Some of the bill sponsors also weighed in on the importance of the bill’s passage.

“We've taken a significant step forward today by ensuring that our schools are places of equity and dignity,” Willford said. “Providing period products in middle and high school restrooms is more than a matter of convenience. It's a fundamental issue for ensuring that every student has what they need to succeed. This legislation marks a commitment to removing barriers and upholding the rights of all our students to a disruption-free education.”

“This act ensures that any student, regardless of income, has access to the menstrual health products they need to be successful in school. It's our responsibility to remove any barriers in education that stand in the way of this fundamental right, empowering every student to reach their fullest potential,” Buckner said.

“Access to education is not just a basic right; it's the very foundation upon which we build a brighter future for all,” Titone said. “By ensuring every child can step into a classroom, we are opening doors to limitless possibilities and enabling dreams that will one day shape our world.”

“To dismantle barriers in education is to build bridges to success for future generations. We are committed to ensuring that no child's potential is limited by circumstances beyond their control, ensuring a brighter, more inclusive future for everyone,” Winter said.