STAND. COM. REP. NO. 1503
RE: S.R. No. 77
Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi
President of the Senate
Thirty-First State Legislature
Regular Session of 2021
State of Hawaii
Your Committee on Ways and Means, to which was referred S.R. No. 77 entitled:
"SENATE RESOLUTION REQUESTING THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION TO PROVIDE FREE MENSTRUAL PRODUCTS TO STUDENTS ON ALL HAWAII PUBLIC SCHOOL CAMPUSES,"
begs leave to report as follows:
The purpose and intent of this measure is to promote greater gender equity in the public school system with regard to menstruation and menstrual hygiene.
More specifically, this measure requests that:
(1) The Department of Education provide free menstrual products to students on all public school campuses in the State;
(2) The Board of Education include criteria relevant to gender equity in the evaluation tool of the Superintendent; and
(3) The Hawaii youth risk behavior survey include specific questions regarding menstrual equity and access to menstrual products.
Your Committee received written comments in support of this measure from the Hawaii State Teachers Association, American Association of University Women of Hawaii, Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest and Hawaii, I Support The Girls - Hawaii, and four individuals.
Your Committee finds that the Department of Education provides students with free hygiene products such as toilet paper and hand soap in restrooms in order to maintain a healthy school environment, but does not provide free menstrual products. Your Committee notes that in the 2019-2020 school year, the Department of Education considered forty-seven percent of its public school students to be "economically disadvantaged" and further notes that a 2020 Aloha United Way report states that sixty percent of families in the State are struggling to meet basic needs due to the economic impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic. Your Committee further finds that lack of access to affordable menstrual products contributes to student absenteeism and tardiness. Accordingly, your Committee believes that the requests made in this measure are worthy of consideration and may help to improve gender equity on public school campuses and encourage more consistent school attendance.
As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your Committee on Ways and Means that is attached to this report, your Committee concurs with the intent and purpose of S.R. No. 77 and recommends its adoption.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Ways and Means,
DONOVAN M. DELA CRUZ, Chair