(WEHT)– Illinois Governor JB Pritzker signed three bills aimed at supporting rights for women’s health while fighting period poverty. House Bill 641, House Bill 155, and House Bill 310 ensures free feminine hygiene products to be available at all Illinois public universities, community colleges and homeless shelters for youth and women. The governor was joined by legislators, advocates, and community leaders, who have been working towards making feminine hygiene products more accessible for women and girls in Illinois.
HB 155 requires the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) to apply for a waiver from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service, that would pave the way for recipients of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) to use the two programs for diapers and menstrual hygiene products. This piece of legislation goes into effect January 1, 2022.
HB 641 requires all public colleges and community colleges across the sate to provide free feminine hygiene products in campus bathrooms. This legislation goes into effect immediately. The Board of Trustees at Illinois colleges and universities will need to decide how these needs are funded.
HB 310 requires all homeless shelters who offer temporary housing assistance to both women and youth to provide feminine hygiene products such as pads, tampons and liners free of charge if there is room in their budget. This is effective January 1, 2022.
You can watch Governor Pritzker sign these bills into law here.
These new bills are meant to advance the administration’s ongoing work to make Illinois a national leader in ensuring women’s healthcare is a right, not a privilege. In 2019, the Governor signed into law the Reproductive Health Act, guaranteeing that women in Illinois have the right to choose. Additionally, the administration expanded the Breast and Cervical Cancer Program, which provides free screenings and diagnostic services to uninsured and underinsured women and also expanded insurance coverage for mammograms and other breast cancer screenings. Earlier this year, the Governor signed legislation granting Illinoisans access to birth control over the counter.