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Alabama Senate expected to take up bill to address period poverty

The period poverty bill passed unanimously in the House of Representatives in early March, with more than 50 state representatives signing on as co-sponsors. HB 50 would allow the Alabama State Department of Education to offer grants to Title I public schools to enable them to provide menstrual hygiene products to students in grades five through 12 throughout the state.

Period poverty refers to a lack of access or ability to purchase necessary menstrual products.

State Rep. Rolanda Hollis (D-Birmingham) introduced the bill that was amended to provide $200,000 in grants from the education budget. Female nurses, counselors or designated female teachers would distribute the products.

According to Women in Training, Inc., a nonprofit based in Montgomery, 24.5% of students enrolled in Alabama schools live in poverty.

Brooke Bennett, the 14-year-old co-founder of Women in Training, Inc., said, “This is the third time that Rep. Rolanda Hollis has introduced a bill to help end period poverty among students in Alabama’s public school. We are praying that three times is a charm, and the bill finally passes unanimously in the Senate, as it has two times in the House of Representatives.”

Bennett is looking forward to Alabama Senate taking up the bill.

“Senator Arthur Orr, Chairman of the Senate Finance and Taxation Committee, promised to hold a hearing on the bill early next week. This will clear the way for the full Senate to vote and pass the bill,” she stated.

On Wednesday, State Sen. Arthur Orr (R-Decatur) told 256 Today, “This bill certainly seems to have a lot of support and I would expect it to be before the Senate committee next week for consideration.”

The current legislative session ends April 7, 2022.

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