Sen. Louis P. DiPalma’s (D-Dist. 12, Middletown, Little Compton, Newport, Tiverton) legislation (2019-S 0049) which would exempt menstrual products from the state sales tax is being heard by the Senate Finance Committee this Thursday, June 6 at the RISE of the Senate (approximately 5 p.m.) in Room 211 of the State House.

“Rhode Island should not be taxing feminine hygiene products as if buying them is some kind of luxury that indicates a person’s ability to pitch in a little more to support the state. They are a necessity, and one that is already fairly expensive for those of limited means. You can’t buy them with SNAP, and many women and girls can’t afford as many as they actually need. The state doesn’t need to add to their costs. For the same reason we exempt food and clothing — necessity — we should exempt menstrual products,” said Senator DiPalma in a press release.

The legislation would exempt tampons, panty liners, menstrual cups, sanitary napkins, and other similar products used in connection with women’s menstrual cycles. Senator DiPalma has introduced the bill since 2016, and it has been supported by the Rhode Island Medical Society, Planned Parenthood and the Women’s Policy Institute.

Of the 45 U.S. states that collect sales tax, 10, including Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York and New Jersey, currently exempt feminine hygiene products. Canada eliminated the “tampon tax” nationwide in 2015, and several other countries have as well.

Rep. Edith H. Ajello (D-Dist. 1, Providence) is the sponsor of the companion legislation (2019-H 5307) in the House of Representatives.