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.
Georgia STOMP believes that a general lack of understanding about menstrual needs has led to inequity not just in our tax base, but in institutions and public spaces across the state.
To combat this inequity, we are:
- addressing period poverty and its effects on the education of women in our state’s public schools.
- working with state, local, and county agencies to ensure menstrual products are available in adequate supply for incarcerated women and girls.
- vigorously pursuing the elimination of state sales tax on menstrual products, holding that it is a minimum that can be done to address menstrual equity in Georgia.
- continuing collaboration with the Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA) to improve the availability of menstrual products following an emergency
- advancing an understanding of menstrual equity and why it is needed in Georgia alongside all efforts to eliminate period poverty
Georgia STOMP members include a growing number of academic researchers who are focused on the needs of menstruators who inform every aspect of our work. We serve as a connecting body for period product supply organizations throughout the state, providing a means for advocacy and education, but also assisting with coordination and sharing of products when there are needs in one location that can be served by resources in another. Georgia STOMP continues to build bipartisan relationships with legislators, but also works closely with state administrators in the Department of Education, the Department of Public Health, the Department of Corrections, and Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency.
As of 2021, the coalition is approaching 30 organizations with a reach of more than 50,000 people across Georgia. Notable successes include the provision of products in schools, state-run incarceration facilities and following natural disasters.