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Legislation Clinic Testifies Before D.C. Council for Menstrual Equity

Tuesday, May 1, 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Erin Looney
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Group photo
Front, from left: Charles Moreland, Christian Cooper, Professor Laurie Morin. Back, from left: Sneha Mody, Charlene Gates, Demetria Themistocles

The UDC Law Legislation Clinic testified before the D.C. Council last week to ensure the tampon tax repeal signed into law by Mayor Muriel Bowser in February 2017 remains in the fiscal 2019 budget. Student attorneys Charles Moreland and Christian Cooper testified along with Bringing Resources to Aid Women’s Shelters (BRAWS) founder Holly Seibold and Advocacy Director Sneha Mody before the Committee of the Whole on April 27, 2018.

In an April 29 opinion piece for the Washington Post, Seibold urges continued support for tampon tax legislation in the District of Columbia.

The Legislation Clinic has represented BRAWS since 2016 in advocacy to help repeal the 5.75% sales tax on menstrual products in Washington, D.C. During the Fall 2016 semester, students in the clinic testified before the D.C. Council to support passage of the Feminine Hygiene and Diapers Sales Tax Exemption Amendment Act of 2016, which resulted in the Council voting to eliminate the tax and Mayor Muriel Bowser signing it into law. However, the law was never implemented because it was not funded in the FY 2018 budget.

Advocacy for the tampon tax repeal continued this semester. The April 27, 2018 testimony urged the D.C. Council to implement the law by providing funding in the FY 2019 budget. A full video of the Budget Oversight Hearing with closed captioning capability can be found in the D.C. Council archives. Seibold begins speaking at 24:17. Moreland’s testimony begins at 27:25. Mody provides her statement at 44:14, and Cooper gives his at 47:11.

Professor Laurie Morin, Legislation Clinic supervising attorney and founder of the Gender Justice Project, expressed that she and Clinic Director and Olender Professor Marcy Karin were proud of the work the students were doing and added, “We salute our client BRAWS for bringing this important issue to the District.”

Professor Monica Bhattacharya, a Clinical Instructor and LL.M. candidate, is supervising a related federal legislative project on behalf of BRAWS. The Legislation Clinic and BRAWS will co-host Suffering in Silence: The Impact of Menstrual Inequity on Vulnerable Women and Girls, Saturday, May 12, 2018, from 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at BRAWS Headquarters in Vienna, Va. The event is designed to introduce a report that “captures and contextualizes (the women and girls’) stories and examines the local, state and federal legislation and policies that have been proposed and passed to meet their critical needs.”

DC Council chambers
Cooper testifies with Mody
DC Council chambers
Moreland testifies with Seibold
Group photo
Front, from left: Charles Moreland, Christian Cooper, Professor Monica Bhattacharya. Back, from left: Holly Seibold, Sneha Mody, Charlene Gates, Demetria Themistocles

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