State to provide free menstrual products in women's restrooms

State to provide free menstrual products in women's restrooms

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At Gov. Tony Evers’ direction, women’s restrooms in the Capitol and state-run office buildings will now have menstrual products available for free.

Rep. Melissa Sargent, D-Madison, a lawmaker who has long championed the idea, announced the Evers’ administration’s action on Tuesday.

Menstrual products will be provided free of charge in women’s restrooms. Sargent characterized the action as a step toward equality.

“Menstrual products are necessities, not luxuries, and no individual should have to be without them when they are in need — especially in our government buildings,” Sargent said in a statement.

The Madison lawmaker argued the use of menstrual products is stigmatized and places a financial burden on those who menstruate.

Sargent has previously authored unsuccessful legislation that would have required state-run buildings to offer free tampons and pads. She’s also championed a bill that would have exempted menstrual products from the state sales tax.

The state Department of Administration has installed or converted 138 dispensers in state buildings.

Besides the state Capitol, other buildings with menstrual product dispensers installed include the Tommy G. Thompson Center, State Laboratory of Hygiene, State Natural Resources Building, State Labor Building, Hill Farms State Office Building, State Agriculture Building and Risser Justice Center.

The total installation cost was $18,875.

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