In early 2017, a member of Georgia Women (And Those Who Stand With Us) brought forth the idea of eliminating the state sales tax on menstrual products in Georgia. After reviewing her research, Georgia Women’s Steering Committee adopted sales tax elimination as a mission. Successful meetings with Rep. Allen Peake (R) – Macon and Rep. Debbie Buckner (D) – Junction City led to the introduction of HB731, a bill to eliminate state sales tax on menstrual products in Georgia.
Although the bill’s original signers were proportionally bipartisan, HB731 never progressed out of committee. 2018 was nevertheless a successful year in that work to get the bill passed, forged a network that soon became Georgia STOMP.
Concurrently to Georgia Women’s work to bring forth a bill, a separate effort was undertaken by a Georgia activist through circulation of an internet petition. That petition effort joined forces with Project Period in Savannah and through that group with the Junior League, first in Savannah and then statewide.
In the months between the 2018 and 2019 Georgia Legislative Sessions, connections were made to individuals and groups throughout the state and nation — calls or emails were sent to anyone who might have knowledge about or interest in period related issues. Additionally, a large group of legislators and coalition partner leadership was convened for two working summits.
Serendipitously, in October of 2018, the Alliance for Period Supplies scheduled the first national conference on Period Leadership in Atlanta. Members of Georgia STOMP attended the conference and it became a turning point for the coalition. With leaders from all over the country present, coalition attendees were challenged to look beyond the tax elimination issue to numerous areas of menstrual inequity.
In summary, Georgia STOMP believes that a general lack of understanding about women’s menstrual needs has led to inequity not just in our tax base, but in institutions and public spaces across the state.
To address this inequity, we are:
- working with legislators and researchers statewide to develop a pilot project related to period poverty and its effects on education of women in our state’s public schools.
- working with the Georgia Emergency Management Agency to have menstrual products added to their list of basic necessities that grant funds can be used to purchase, aligning our state’s agency rules with FEMA.
- researching and preparing for action related to menstrual products availability in prisons.
- vigorously pursuing the elimination of state sales tax on menstrual products, holding that it is a minimum that can be done to address the issue of period poverty and menstrual equity in our state, easing access to these medically necessary and essential products for women in Georgia.