THIRTY-SECOND LEGISLATURE, 2023
STATE OF HAWAII
A BILL FOR AN ACT
relating to menstrual products.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:
SECTION 1. The legislature finds that Hawaii has the highest cost of living in the nation. Families in the State struggle to remain economically secure due to a combination of rising costs and stagnant wages. Particularly concerning are the findings from a 2022 Aloha United Way report titled ALICE in Hawai`i: 2022 Facts and Figures. "ALICE" refers to households that are characterized as Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed. According to the report, the number of Hawaii households that are struggling to make ends meet reached a new high in 2022, at forty-four per cent of households in the State. Equally concerning, more than one in seven households, or fifteen per cent of households in the State, have income below the federal poverty level, which represents a sharp increase from nine per cent in 2018.
The legislature also finds that persons who struggle to meet their basic needs are likely to be impacted by "period poverty", which refers to a systemic lack of access to menstrual products such as pads and tampons. Period poverty and the broader issue of menstrual inequity are silent threats to menstrual health, and thereby affect overall general health and well-being. These threats have serious ramifications at the individual and societal levels, including detrimental impacts on public health, gender equality, mental health, access to education and work, and the ability to provide for one's basic needs.
The legislature further finds that period poverty and menstrual inequity result directly from socioeconomic, gender, and racial injustices, as recognized in the November 2021 report co-authored by the Hawaii state commission on the status of women and Ma`i Movement Hawai`i. The report included survey data revealing the extent of period poverty in the State. According to the report, Hawaii's "exceptionally high cost of living and wage gap for women specifically exacerbate period poverty in Hawai`i . . . ." Ninety per cent of survey respondents believed that menstrual products are "expensive". Further, nearly thirty per cent of respondents reported that they or a household member experienced difficulty obtaining menstrual products, with cost being the most cited reason.
Moreover, data recently collected in Hawaii by the United States Census Bureau for the Household Pulse Survey--which examines the social and economic impacts of the pandemic on households nationwide--is even more concerning. During one recent data collection period, 43.8 per cent of Hawaii households responding to the survey reported having difficulty paying for usual household expenses in the last seven days. Seventy per cent of these respondents were female. With respect to households having an income of less than $34,999, eighty-nine per cent of responding households reported that it has been "somewhat difficult" to pay for usual household expenses and more specifically, thirty-seven per cent found it "very difficult" to do so. Even at the higher income bracket of $100,000 to $149,999, fifty-four per cent of responding households reported having difficulty paying for usual household expenses. Viewed within this context, the ongoing need to purchase menstrual products, which lasts an average of forty years for a menstruating person, consumes a disproportionate amount of the menstruating person's financial resources relative to a non-menstruating person having the same income. As a result, menstrual products--a basic necessity akin to toilet paper, hand soap, and other personal hygiene products--are economically out of reach for a growing number of menstruating girls, women, and gender-diverse people.
The legislature recognizes the financial burden associated with menstruation when the lack of economic relief or easily accessible aid threatens the livelihood of menstruating persons. The legislature believes that the provision of free menstrual products in public buildings would reduce health risks, alleviate the burden of period poverty, and protect the dignity of all menstruating people. Further, the legislature believes that establishing wider access to free menstrual products would help to ensure more inclusive and equitable access to public facilities, reduce barriers faced by residents and visitors to state buildings in meeting basic needs, and promote greater menstrual equity in the State.
Accordingly, the purpose of this Act is to ensure that members of the public, regardless of their gender or biology, have access to essential hygiene products that support public health, by requiring the department of accounting and general services to provide menstrual products at no cost in specified restrooms of public buildings maintained by that department.
SECTION 2. Section 26-6, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:
"§26-6 Department of accounting and general services. (a) The department of accounting and general services shall be headed by a single executive to be known as the comptroller.
(b) The department shall:
(1) Preaudit and conduct after-the-fact audits of the financial accounts of all state departments to determine the legality of expenditures and the accuracy of accounts;
(2) Report to the governor and to each regular session of the legislature as to the finances of each department of the State;
(3) Administer the state risk management program;
(4) Establish and manage motor pools;
(5) Manage the preservation and disposal of all records of the State;
(6) Undertake the program of centralized engineering and office leasing services, including operation and maintenance and lease buyback processing pursuant to subsection (d) of public buildings, for departments of the State;
(7) Undertake the functions of the state surveyor;
(8) Establish accounting and internal control systems;
(9) Under the direction of the chief information officer, provide centralized computer information management and processing services;
(10) Establish a program to provide a means for public access to public information and develop an information network for state government;
(11) Assume administrative responsibility for the office of information practices; and
(12) Approve state fleet acquisitions; provided that:
(A) Beginning January 1, 2022, all new light-duty motor vehicles that are passenger cars purchased for the State's fleet shall be zero-emission vehicles;
(B) Beginning as soon as practicable but no later than January 1, 2030, all new light-duty motor vehicles that are multipurpose passenger vehicles and trucks for the State's fleet shall be zero‑emission vehicles; and
(C) The comptroller may authorize an exemption for new fleet vehicle purchases if zero-emission vehicles are demonstrated to be cost-prohibitive on a lifecycle basis or unsuitable for the vehicles' planned purpose, or if funds are unavailable.
For the purposes of this subsection:
"Light-duty motor vehicle" shall have the same meaning as contained in title 10 Code Federal Regulations part 490.
"Multipurpose passenger vehicle" shall have the same meaning as contained in title 49 Code of Federal Regulations section 571.3.
"Passenger car" shall have the same meaning as contained in title 49 Code of Federal Regulations section 571.3.
"Truck" shall have the same meaning as contained in title 49 Code of Federal Regulations section 571.3.
"Zero-emission vehicle" shall have the same meaning as contained in title 40 Code of Federal Regulations section 88.102-94.
(c) The state communication system shall be established to:
(1) Facilitate implementation of the State's distributed information processing and information resource management plans;
(2) Improve data, voice, and video communications in state government;
(3) Provide a means for connectivity among the state, university, and county computer systems; and
(4) Provide a long-term means for public access to public information.
(d) The department shall establish, coordinate, and manage a program to facilitate facility agreements between the State and private investors for the sale of facilities, excluding facilities managed or controlled by the department of transportation, to private investors; provided that each facility agreement contains the following requirements:
(1) The State shall sell the facility to the private investor, who shall:
(A) Renovate, improve, or construct a facility for the State and may maintain the facility; and
(B) Lease the facility to the State, pursuant to a building lease;
(2) The land upon which the facility rests shall not be sold to the private investor; provided that the land may be leased at a nominal rate to the private investor for a term that would, at a minimum, allow the private investor to recover the capital investment that has been made to the facility, including depreciation; and
(3) The State shall have the option of purchasing the facility from the private investor for the remaining balance of the debt service costs incurred by the private investor at any time.
For purposes of this subsection:
"Building lease" means a contract between the department of accounting and general services and a private investor in which the private investor leases an improved facility to the department for a specified period of time.
"Facility" means a building under the management and control of any state department.
"Facility agreement" means an agreement between the State and a private investor that, at a minimum, includes a description of the work to be done, the sale price for the facility, the duration of the agreement, the roles and responsibilities of the State and the private investor, and the terms and conditions for the lease.
"Private investor" means a nongovernmental entity.
(e) The department may adopt rules as may be necessary or desirable for the operation and maintenance of public buildings; for the operation and implementation of a program to provide a means for public access to the State's information network system and public information; and for the implementation of facility agreements pursuant to subsection (d). The rules shall be adopted pursuant to chapter 91.
(f) The King Kamehameha celebration commission shall be placed within the department of accounting and general services for administrative purposes. The functions, duties, and powers, subject to the administrative control of the comptroller, and the composition of the commission shall be as heretofore provided by law.
(g) The functions and authority heretofore exercised by the comptroller, board of commissioners of public archives, the archivist, the disposal committee, and the insurance management, surplus property management, and central purchasing functions of the bureau of the budget and the nonhighway functions of the department of public works as heretofore constituted are transferred to the department of accounting and general services established by this chapter.
(h) The department of accounting and general services shall preserve and protect Washington Place, including the grounds and the historic residence situated on its premises at Miller and Beretania Streets in Honolulu. The department shall administer, manage, operate, and maintain Washington Place and the trust fund created under subsection (i).
(i) There is established a trust fund in the state treasury to be known as the Washington Place trust fund, into which shall be deposited:
(1) All rents and fees collected for the use of Washington Place and from activities conducted on the premises;
(2) All other money received for the fund from any other source; and
(3) All income and interest earned or accrued on moneys deposited into the trust fund.
All moneys deposited into the trust fund shall be expended by the department of accounting and general services and used exclusively to implement the provisions of subsection (h), including for staff salaries and fringe benefits, and shall not be transferred, nor subject to transfer, to the general fund or any other fund in the state treasury.
(j) The department of accounting and general services shall:
(1) Maintain a stock of menstrual products, free of charge, in each covered restroom of each covered public building; and
(2) Install in each covered restroom of each covered public building a dispenser or similar device for the provision of free menstrual products. To ensure access for all menstruating people, if a covered public building has no gender-neutral restroom, the department shall provide free menstrual products in at least one men's restroom of that covered public building and place signage in the remaining men's restrooms of that covered public building to indicate the location of free menstrual products.
The provision of free menstrual products under this subsection shall be implemented in phases beginning no later than December 31, 2023. The first phase shall focus on covered restrooms having the greatest need for free menstrual products, as determined by the comptroller, and shall include covered restrooms located in public libraries. Subsequent phases of implementation in remaining covered public buildings shall begin no later than December 31, 2024.
For purposes of this subsection:
"Covered public building" means a state building under the jurisdiction of the department of accounting and general services that is open to the public and contains a public restroom; provided that the term does not include state parks.
"Covered restroom" means every women's restroom and every gender-neutral restroom of a covered public building.
"Menstrual products" means disposable menstrual pads and tampons that conform to applicable industry standards."
SECTION 3. There is appropriated out of the general revenues of the State of Hawaii the sum of $ or so much thereof as may be necessary for fiscal year 2023-2024 and the same sum or so much thereof as may be necessary for fiscal year 2024-2025 for the stocking of free menstrual products and installation of dispensers or other devices therefor in accordance with the requirements of section 2 of this Act.
The sums appropriated shall be expended by the department of accounting and general services for the purposes of this Act.
SECTION 4. New statutory material is underscored.
SECTION 5. This Act shall take effect on July 1, 2023.
Menstrual Equity; Menstrual Products; Department of Accounting and General Services; Public Buildings; Restrooms; Appropriation
Requires the Department of Accounting and General Services to provide menstrual products at no cost in specified restrooms of public buildings maintained by that department. Appropriates funds.
The summary description of legislation appearing on this page is for informational purposes only and is not legislation or evidence of legislative intent.