Laws in 2017 aim for equality and protection


Photo by Pixabay, Emily Wissemes

The tax on feminine hygiene products has been eliminated and stylists are now required to take classes on domestic violence due to new laws in 2017.

By Emily Wissemes, Editor in Chief

Hundreds of new laws are set to go into effect in Illinois in 2017, but two especially stood out.

Finally, after years of going to Walgreens and spending $25 for two boxes of feminine hygiene products, the elimination of taxes on those commodities has been lifted.

According to WGN, an update to the tax code means women’s health products like tampons, pads, and menstrual cups won’t be taxed the same way as shampoo. These goods were previously classified as “luxury goods.”

Health insurance also must cover FDA-approved contraceptive drugs, covering up to a year of contraceptives at a time.

The tax revealed the underlying sexism and discrimination against women because men don’t have to deal with the same issues.

By recognizing that tampons are not a luxury but a necessity is an important step in creating a society in which women have fewer hoops to jump through.

“The state of Illinois is in a crisis, but women who bleed monthly should not be responsible for digging the state out of a mess of their own making,” Diana Tigerlily, a professor in SIU’s women, gender and sexuality studies department, said in a Daily Egyptian article. “The revenues lost on this are not as significant as the decrease in hardships that this tax is causing on women.”

Another major law went into effect.

According to the Chicago Tribune, in an effort to take advantage of the intimate relationships between stylists and their clients, one new rule requires licensed hair stylists, barbers, and cosmetologists to undergo domestic violence training. This way, they can identify potential victims and take steps to encourage them to find help.

As reported by NPR, the training that the stylists will receive is an hourlong “awareness and education” program called Listen. Support. Connect. It was designed by Chicago Says No More, a coalition of domestic violence advocacy groups, in partnership with Cosmetologists Chicago.

Now, obviously the stylist won’t be required to notify authorities if they suspect any form of violence, but this is one way that society is moving forward to keep people safer.