SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — Gov. Spencer Cox and Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson announced on Thursday the order to provide free period products in all state executive branch buildings.

Advocates with The Policy Project, who have actively worked with state leaders to end period poverty, said Utah will be among the first in the nation to make period products available for free in every women’s and all-gender bathrooms in state buildings.

“Prioritizing the access to free period products in bathrooms throughout the state, including in K-12 schools and now in state buildings, will go a long way to helping our women and menstruators,” said Emily Bell McCormick, president of The Policy Project. “This investment in our female workforce helps our state be more productive and enforces the message that women are seen and valued here in Utah.”

The order will supply free period products, such as tampons and pads, in about 1,698 restrooms, and nearly 1,000 of them are used by the public who visits those buildings.

In 2022, Utah lawmakers also passed a bill that will require all local school boards and charter school governing boards to provide free period products in women’s and all-gender restrooms.

“I’m so happy that we’re here and that we’re able to talk about this issue and normalize it,” Henderson said.

Municipal buildings in Salt Lake City have been offering free period products in restrooms since 2019.

“We don’t charge people for toilet paper, and women’s access to feminine hygiene products shouldn’t be charged either,” said Mayor Erin Mendenhall, one of the three female Council Members who co-sponsored the proposal, which has received $20,000 in funds for a pilot program.

Advocates with The Policy Projects say leaders from the Utah Department of Corrections have confirmed that prisons and jails are offering free access to menstrual products.