Governor Hochul Signs Health Equity and Opportunity Legislation for New Yorkers

Governor Kathy Hochul signed the Health Equity and Opportunity legislative package, which further supports the State’s commitment to gender inclusivity and will provide necessary resources to New York’s youth. Legislation in this package addresses a wide range of issues from legislation S.5913A/A.113A, which requires middle and high schools to provide free menstrual products in school bathrooms, to legislation S.6528A/A.6927A, which requires cosmetologists to receive training on all hair types and patterns, including natural hair types throughout their education.

“We know now more than ever before the positive impact inclusivity has on communities, and in New York we’re taking the steps to ensure equity for all from healthcare to haircare,” Governor Hochul said. “From simply updating the way certain products are referred to, to expanding access to vital resources for those who may need them most, as time progresses, so should our laws.”

State Senator Roxanne J. Persaud said,“New York has been a leader in the menstrual equity movement, and today takes a critical step in continuing that leadership. Outdated terminology perpetuates stigma surrounding menstruation, which ultimately discourages conversations that enable access to basic resources. This bill recognizes the simple reality that menstruation is not dirty, but rather a natural bodily function. In so doing, we take another step in lifting the stigma, combatting period poverty, and ensuring equal dignity for all individuals who menstruate throughout New York.”

Legislation S.5913A/A.113A requires menstrual products to be provided to students for free in private middle and high school student restrooms.

State Senator Iwen Chu said, “A stigma around menstruation and menstrual inequities continues to impact thousands of students in New York State. 25% of menstruating individuals do not have access to period products, which are a basic necessity that can be a burdensome expense for families. Without these products, students are likely to miss classes and school days. I’m proud to see my legislation signed by Governor Hochul so non-public school students have menstrual products accessible to them and strengthening our fight against period poverty. Menstruation is not a choice, but removing the barrier to product access is.”

Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal said, “For years, I have proudly led the fight in New York State for menstrual equity and to smash the stigma associated with periods. As the author of legislation axing the tax on menstrual products, requiring ingredient labeling on menstrual product packaging and requiring the distribution of products in prisons, schools and shelters, I am proud that two more of my menstrual bills have been signed into law. By eliminating harmful and taboo references to feminine hygiene products in state law and expanding access to menstrual products in private schools, we are once again charting a path forward for other states across the country in addressing and protecting women’s health. I look forward to continuing this critical work next session.”

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