MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. (DC News Now) — Will Jawando, the Montgomery County Councilmember and Education and Culture Committee chair has introduced the Menstrual Products Access and Equity Act.

The act promises to improve menstrual equity and reduce period poverty in Montgomery County.

“Menstruation isn’t optional for those who menstruate in our County,” said Councilmember Jawando. “Reliable access to basic menstrual products shouldn’t be either. Anyone who uses a public restroom expects to find the basic supplies needed to be healthy: Clean running water, a functioning toilet, toilet paper, and soap. Menstrual supplies are critical to public health.”

Menstrual products have to be available at no cost in certain public accommodations with publicly accessible bathrooms, according to the bill.

“Public restrooms should provide patrons with access to free menstrual hygiene products as they would to other hygiene products such as toilet paper,” said Becky Wimmer, executive director of The Maryland Academy of Family Physicians. “Menstrual female hygiene products are a medical necessity. Access to these products is a gender equality issue with public health implications.”

A public hearing is scheduled for Dec. 5, at 1:30 p.m.