HHS junior Elif Ozturk continues her fight for change
Jan 31, 2023
Once again, HHS student Elif Ozturk, junior, is making changes surrounding menstrual product accessibility.
Last year, Ozturk worked to supply free tampons and pads in all HHS women’s and gender-neutral restrooms. During this time, she has also been working to create a bill to enact this effort state-wide.
During her freshman year, Ozturk started working with Representative Sandra Feist, who would be the House author of a bill that would require all public schools in Minnesota to provide free tampons and pads for students with periods in their restrooms.
“Starting the process of making a bill isn’t as difficult as some people may think, it was just extremely time-consuming,” Ozturk said.
After she got started, Ozturk started to draft the bill with researchers and co-authors during her sophomore year.
“Its main purpose is to fund menstrual products in all MN Schools.” Said Ozturk.
The process of writing the bill was finished in December 2022. The hearing process started in early January 2023.
“The process for this legislative session has just begun,” Ozturk said. “So far it has been passed in the House Education Policy Committee as well as the Senate Education Policy Committee.”
The next step of the hearing process will be in the House of Education Finance and the Senate Education Finance. Although the bill has gotten passed in both congressional groups so far, there still has been pushback from some legislators.
“When it comes to the Republicans, they argue that we should give schools more funding for menstrual products, but we should not mandate schools to use the money for certain things, because it takes power away from the school’s board,” Ozturk said.
A common belief shared amongst the Republican party is that government power should be limited. Typically Republicans will be less likely to favor a bill that requires government funding to be mandated for specific use within a smaller local government, like a school board.
Ozturk explains how she does not agree with this, because school boards already have many other issues to address.
Despite minor obstacles, Ozturk is optimistic about the future of her bill.
“The chances of this passing are high because we have the trifecta (House, Senate and Governor all being held by a DFL majority), and it is a spending year,” Ozturk said. “The slow pace has been challenging, but it’s interesting to see, and I am excited to see what the future holds for this bill.”
Ozturk’s work doesn’t stop here. In early March, she will be widening her work to an international level after being invited to speak at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland where she will be addressing relevant human rights issues and lobbying with the Advocates for Human Rights non-profit organization.