House OKs Donovan bill to protect donors of feminine hygiene products from liability

Bill would remove barrier to rarely donated, much-needed items

 

STATE HOUSE – The House of Representatives today approved legislation sponsored by Rep. Susan R. Donovan to provide legal protection to those who donate feminine hygiene products.

“There are tens of thousands of women in this state who struggle to afford the necessity of feminine hygiene products. They are expensive, they aren’t covered by SNAP, and they are rarely donated to food banks or shelters. Corporate donors are reluctant to provide them because some are legally classified as a Class II medical device,” said Representative Donovan (D-Dist. 69, Bristol, Portsmouth). “Providing protection for donors would open the door to manufacturers of these products making large donations, which would make a significant difference in the lives of the many women and girls in Rhode Island who can’t afford these products.”

Under the bill (2022-H 7140), a good faith-donor of an apparently usable feminine hygiene product to a bona fide charitable or nonprofit organization for free distribution to those in need of the product will not be subject to any criminal penalty for violation of unfair trade practice laws or civil damages arising from the nature, age, packaging, or condition of the product. The bill would not provide immunity for gross negligence or intentional misconduct.

The bill now goes to the Senate, where similar legislation (2022-S 2531) is sponsored by Sen. Alana M. DiMario (D-Dist. 36, Narragansett, North Kingstown).

The legislation is supported by the Rhode Island Food Bank, Amenity Aid, the Alliance for Period Supplies, the Women’s Fund of Rhode Island, the League of Women Voters, and the Rhode Island Coalition for Reproductive Freedom.

In Rhode Island, 1 in 7 women and girls between the age of 12 and 44 lives below the federal poverty line. One national survey found that 1 in 5 teen girls reports struggling to afford feminine hygiene products or not being able to purchase them at all.

In recent years, the Rhode Island General Assembly has exempted feminine protection products from the state sales tax and required them to be provided in public schools at no cost.

 

The U.S. defense secretary says Russia's invasion of Ukraine has spurred countries around the world to take action. Lloyd Austin noted the U.S. is not alone in providing Ukraine with security and humanitarian aid. He stressed the U.S. will keep doing everything possible to help Ukraine, but said "how it ends" is up to the people of Ukraine.        The White House appears to be downplaying President Biden's comments about the U.S. defending Taiwan should China invade -- again. Biden said he would honor a commitment to defend Taiwan, prompting The White House to quickly put out a statement, saying Biden's comments "don't reflect a change in U.S. policy." It's the third time in recent months the White House has issued a statement following remarks by the President about Taiwan.       At least 100-thousand migrants are allegedly waiting to cross the Rio Grande River into the U.S. Texas Governor Greg Abbott claims he saw the migrants today during a tour of the southern border. Abbott says he was told by National Border Patrol Council leadership that most of the migrants are involved in the Cartels because they aren't using ports of entry to come into the U.S.        Yankees' Josh Donaldson is being suspended for what the MLB calls a "disrespectful" remark towards White Sox' Tim Anderson. Donaldson called the Chicago player "Jackie," in reference to Jackie Robinson, who was the league's first Black player in 1947. Donaldson plans to appeal the suspension.        The mayor of Anaheim, California is abruptly quitting in the middle of an FBI investigation. Mayor Harry Sidhu [[ sah-DOH ]] resigned today. Last week, it became public that federal officials were looking into how Sidhu helped broker a deal to sell the Anaheim Angels' baseball stadium from the city to the team.        A "potentially hazardous" asteroid is racing past Earth this week. It measures just over a mile long, making it the largest asteroid to get relatively close to our planet this year. Although it is massive, there is no need to worry, as it will be two-and-a-half million miles away when it passes Earth on May 27th.