Governor Hochul Signs Health Equity and Opportunity Legislation for New Yorkers
Legislation S.1522/A.1296 Replaces the Phrases ‘Feminine Hygiene Products’ and ‘Sanitary Napkins’ with Gender Non-Specific ‘Menstrual Products’
Legislation S.5913A/A.113A Requires Menstrual Products to be Provided to Students for Free in Private Middle and High School Student Restrooms.
Legislation S.1792/A.4349 Designates March 8th Each Year as International Women’s Day
Legislation S.6528A/A.6927A Requires Cosmetologists to Receive Training on All Hair Types and Patterns
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 Outdated terminology perpetuates stigma surrounding menstruation, which ultimately discourages conversations that enable access to basic resources.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.”
Legislation S.1792/A4349 will commemorate March 8th as International Women’s Day. This day will recognize the adversity women have faced and celebrate the valiant fight for equality.
State Senator Michelle Hinchey said, “Throughout our history, New York has been a trailblazer in advocating for women’s equality, setting an example of progress for both the nation and the world. Designating International Women’s Day as a state day of commemoration presents an opportunity to reaffirm our unwavering dedication to creating a world where all women have equal and active participation in all spheres of life. Recognizing and investing in women stands as a potent catalyst for societal progress, and commemorating Women’s Day on March 8thmarks a meaningful step in acknowledging this crucial effort. I want to thank our Labor coalition for their leadership on this effort and the Governor for signing this bill into law today. I look forward to celebrating with present-day women changemakers and acknowledging those pioneers whose shoulders we stand upon on March 8th.”
Assemblymember Karines Reyes said, “Legislation S.6528A/A.6927A will require New York State to require that education and testing for cosmetologists (including natural hair stylists) include education regarding the provision of services to individuals with all hair types and textures, including, but not limited to, various curl or wave patterns, hair strand thicknesses, and volumes of hair. This legislation will promote and establish an inclusive basic training for all licensed cosmetologists.”
Legislation S.6528A/A.6927A will require New York State to require that education and testing for cosmetologists, including natural hair stylists, include education regarding the provision of services to individuals with all hair types and textures, including, but not limited to, various curl or wave patterns, hair strand thicknesses, and volumes of hair. This legislation will promote and establish an inclusive basic training for all licensed cosmetologists.
State Senator Senator Jamaal T. Bailey said, “Hair is deeply personal. As a proud husband to my wife and father of two young girls, I want them to feel confident and beautiful when it comes to their uniquely textured hair – and in all the ways it is inextricably linked to our well-being, personal identity, and how we show up in the world. Individuals with hair of all textures deserve to feel welcomed, understood, and safe when they seek out hair care services. The current standards in the cosmetology industry often do not adequately prepare professionals to work with diverse hair textures. This knowledge gap disproportionately impacts women and girls of color with textured and diverse hair who face challenges in seeking out services that meet their needs. My bill S6528 seeks to change this by empowering cosmetologists to work with all hair textures and requiring that education and testing for cosmetologists or natural hair stylists includes the provision of services to individuals with all hair types and textures. This is an important step towards greater access and inclusion – we would not be here without the efforts of all of the professionals and the industry leaders whose dedicated work and advocacy has helped elevate the standards of education and care for individuals with all hair textures. I also want to thank Assemblymember Michaelle Solages for carrying this legislation in the Assembly, Governor Kathy Hochul, Majority Leader Andrea Stewart Cousins, Assembly Speaker Carl E. Heastie, and my colleagues in both houses for their support.”
Assemblymember Michaelle C. Solages said, “I thank Governor Hochul, Senator Bailey, the PBA, and the TEC for work on this transformative step forward for the cosmetology industry. As a woman with textured hair, this achievement holds a special significance for me. It’s a victory for diversity, inclusion, and ensuring that everyone, regardless of their hair type, receives the attention and expertise they deserve in the salon. I am proud to have played a part in making the cosmetology field more representative and empowering for individuals with diverse hair textures.”
November 19 2023 Albany NY
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