A bill that would end taxes on women's menstrual products in California is headed to the governor’s office for final approval.
The State Assembly unanimously approved Assembly Bill 1561 Tuesday, which would make tampons, sanitary napkins, menstrual cups, and menstrual sponges exempt from state sales and uses taxes, according to a spokeswoman for Assemblymember Cristina Garcia, D-Downey.
"Every month, for 40 years of our lives, we are taxed for being born women," Garcia said. "Every month of our adult life we are taxed for our biology. Every month we are told our periods are a luxury, while also being told they are something to be ashamed of and we must hide. Periods are not luxuries and they are definitely not something women should be ashamed of, period!"
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The so-called "NO Tax on Tampons" bill is joint authored by Garcia and Ling Ling Chang, R-Diamond Bar.
"It's great that my colleagues in both the Assembly and Senate unanimously agree that it is time to end this out of date practice and support gender equity in the State of California's tax code and I hope the governor agrees," Garcia said.
If it is passed, California will join eight states, Canada, and the U.K., that have all ended the tax. New York, Connecticut and Illinois all voted to end the tax this year, according to a spokeswoman for Garcia's office. There are five additional states in the U.S. that do not have a tax because they did not have a tax in place to begin with.
Although California introducted this legislation early, California's state legislative process takes longer than some of the other states that have passed legislation this year, said a spokeswoman for Garcia's office.
Ohio and Michigan are also trying to pass tampon tax bills, but are still in committee, a spokeswoman for Garcia's office said.
Some cities have also taken action. The city of Chicago eliminated the tax before the entire state of Illinois, and the Council of Washington D.C. is currently reviewing getting rid of the tax.
The measure now awaits the signature of Gov. Jerry Brown. If it is passed, the bill will go into effect on Jan. 1.