House unanimously approves bill providing free tampons to jail inmates in Colorado

Tampons for sale by a local purveyor, Jan. 11, 2019. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Tampons for sale by a local purveyor, Jan. 11, 2019. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

(Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

staff photo

A bill sponsored by state Rep. Leslie Herod of Denver mandating all local jails provide menstrual hygiene products on Wednesday received unanimous support in the House and now heads to the Senate for further consideration.

A release from Colorado House Democrats on Wednesday said the House approved HB19-1224 by a 65-0 vote. Herod’s efforts are linked in part to advocate Elisabeth Epps, who told Denverite last month she wasn’t able to get tampons when she needed them after being jailed in Arapahoe County.

The bill requires jails to provide the necessary products to women in custody immediately and free of charge.

“If you can’t say the word tampon, then don’t restrict access to one,” Herod said in a release. “Women’s bodies are different, and we need to ensure that we are treating all women, especially those that are in custody, with the respect and dignity that they deserve.”

According to the release, current policies mean some jails provide limited menstrual hygiene products to inmates. Herod’s bill would require all jails, multi-jurisdictional jails and municipal jails to provide them to people at no expense, according to the release.

In 2017, Herod and then-state Rep. Faith Winter sponsored an amendment in the state’s budget bill requiring the state’s Department of Correction to provide free tampons to persons in state prisons and other DOC facilities. Winter is now a state Senator and is co-sponsoring HB19-1224 along with Herod.

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