Update from the Department of Public Health

Wednesday, June 5th, Georgia STOMP coalition co-leads, Claire Cox and Adele Stewart, received an update from the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH).

Current DPH distribution plans for menstrual products purchased with the $500,000 allocated in the 2020 state budget are summarized below:

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  • Local community health departments (CHDs) will be able to order menstrual products using existing purchasing procedures for health products supplied by the Department of Public Health.
  • CHDs will be encouraged to start the fiscal year with a supply of a variety of products on their shelves, and order according to community need.
  • Recipients of the products will receive three months’ worth of menstrual products at each visit to DPH, to alleviate the burden of finding transportation.
  • The DPH will assess the distribution at both a mid-year point and at the end of the year.

Georgia STOMP looks forward to learning from the DPH’s program, and is grateful to work alongside them in the pursuit of improved menstrual product access.

Georgia STOMP Coalition Members Meet with the Department of Education

In light of the $1 million allocated in the 2020 budget during the 2019 Legislative Session, on Thursday, May 30, Georgia STOMP coalition members attended a meeting at the Georgia Department of Education to discuss the grant process.

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From Left to Right: Krista Lowe, Sylvia McGee, Therese McGuire, Dr. Bethany Caruso, Adele Stewart, Dr. Andrea Swartzendruber, and Claire Cox. Not pictured: Allan Meyer

Georgia STOMP coalition members were excited to learn about plans for the grant money from Georgia DOE representatives: Allan Meyer, Director of Policy, Krista Lowe, Program Manager for Residential Treatment Facilities, and Therese McGuire, Health and Physical Education Program Specialist.

Thank you to the legislators and advocates who made this program possible. Georgia is on track to be a national leader in the campaign to understand and address period product need in schools. Stay tuned for program updates over the coming months!

Georgia STOMP Spring Summit Meeting

On Tuesday, May 21, members of the Georgia STOMP Coalition met for the Spring Summit Meeting. Progress from the 2019 Legislative Session and plans for future successes were discussed. New faces were welcomed to the table, including Dr. Andrea Swartzendruber, Assistant Professor at the University of Georgia College of Public Health, Laura Register of LBR Consulting, and Kimberlyn Carter from Reform Georgia. Two new coalition member organizations were represented: Andrea Cooke, of Macon Periods Easier, and Sylvia McGee, of the Macon, Georgia Chapter of The Links, Incorporated.

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Followers of the coalition can expect another year of broad ranging advocacy in the areas of period poverty and menstrual equity.

  • 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 our successful collaboration with Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA) to facilitate distribution of menstrual products in light of GEMA’s addition of period supplies to their list of basic necessities which grant funds can be used to purchase.

Member organizations appreciate the support followers and advocates have given to the Georgia STOMP initiatives, and look forward to ensuring that the coming months build upon past progress in bringing menstrual equity and an end to period poverty to Georgia.

 

 

 

Georgia STOMP can come to you!

Would your group like to hear about the work of Georgia STOMP?

If you are only recently learning about the issues of Period Poverty and Menstrual Equity: don’t worry, you are not alone! For those who have never struggled to purchase menstrual products, the realization that numerous women and young girls can’t afford this basic need can be overwhelming. And if you’ve never thought about why menstrual products haven’t been considered “basic needs” by emergency management agencies or sales tax codes, and aren’t provided in public restrooms the same as soap and toilet paper are, the idea of Menstrual Equity is new to you!

Georgia STOMP is working with organizations, policy-makers, and advocates across the state to ensure that menstruation ceases to be a barrier to an equitable society.

Leaders of Georgia STOMP are available to speak to your group or organization about Period Poverty, Menstrual Equity and the legislative and advocacy work we have undertaken, including a great many successes already accomplished!

The following is an excerpt from a report made by Rev. Nana’ Kratochvil, V. P. and Program Chair for the League of Women Voters in Macon following a recent program by Georgia STOMP.

Claire Cox, one of the leaders of Georgia Women (and Those Who Stand With Us), brought her passion and advocacy to the League of Women Voters at their regular meeting on April 17th. She shared with us the work Georgia Women is doing to bring fairness and justice to women.  Georgia STOMP (Stop Tax on Menstrual Products) is a coalition working to eliminate taxes on women’s health products.  Cox told us of the difficult choices faced by poor families when their daughters reached the age of first menses. If the choice to buy food is made, their daughters are unable to attend school, or made do with home made substitutes for pads, tampons or menstrual cups.  Several organizations are donating supplies to schools and shelters, but a better, fairer answer must be found. The products would be more affordable is their price did not include a sales tax.

Ms. Cox shared with members of the League the successful attempts to find sponsors for the bill that was introduced to the Georgia Legislature that would eliminate sales taxes on these products. She traced the fate of the bill in the 2019 legislative session. Although it was not successful this session, a cadre of legislators is now awakened to the need for such a bill.  Georgia Women and their Allies will work for its success at the next session.

Members of the League appreciated Ms. Cox’s presentation.  Some members are already participating in the activities of Georgia Women, and others are interested. We look forward to working together in the future.

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Georgia, A National Leader in Inmate Menstrual Product Access

“Toilet paper, sanitary napkins, and tampons will also be readily available to offenders in the housing units. The Sanitation Officer will ensure daily that the hygiene cabinet in each dorm is stocked with toilet paper, sanitary napkins, and tampons always.”

At our February press conference, Period Progress, Georgia STOMP honored Commissioner Tim Ward for his leadership in policy changes related to menstrual product access at Georgia Department of Correction (GDC) facilities. We recently received a copy of GDC’s  Feminine Hygiene Items Issuance Policy.  Additionally, GDC Director of Female Services, Pamela Wiggins, provided Georgia STOMP  pictures of supply cabinets available “on every dorm within all Female Prisons, Transitional Centers and Probation Detention Centers.” Admittedly, we have never been so excited to see a stack of tampons and pads!

This policy is a welcome step towards all Georgia women being treated with dignity and acceptance and greater normalization of the natural, healthy nature of menstruation.

With the institution of this policy, protections now exist for women in the Federal Bureau of Prisons and Georgia Department of Correction facilities. Georgia STOMP now turns our focus to county and local jails and juvenile justice facilities.

 

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