The Georgia legislature will convene for the 2019-2020 legislative session in just a few days but lawmakers have been prefiling legislation since December. Among the initiatives filed early are bills to mandate feminine product education and to provide a sales tax exemption for menstrual products.
State representative Debra Bazemore, a Democrat from Atlanta, filed House Bill 10 to add tampon education to school curriculum. Specifically, the bill would provide for instruction on “the best practices for and risks associated with the use of tampons.” The bill has a focus on education around Toxic Shock Syndrome as well. The components would be taught in sex education and AIDS prevention courses in Georgia public schools and would only be for female students.
The bill is specific in outlining the prongs of the curriculum to include risks of illness and death, symptoms of toxic shock syndrome (TSS), instructions for symptoms, when to see a doctor, and the occurrence of TSS, all of which are already included in a pamphlet included in boxes of tampons sold in the United States. The FDA also has an education project in place to inform women of the best practices and risks.
You can read the bill here. Bazemore dropped a similar bill in 2018, but the bill did not get a committee hearing.
Additionally, state representative Debbie Buckner, a Democrat from Junction City, filed House Bill 8 in an effort to place menstrual products on the state sales tax exemption list found in OCGA 48-8-3. The exemption, as proposed by Buckner, would include ” tampons, menstrual pads and sanitary napkins, panty liners, menstrual sponges, and menstrual cups.”
Of the 45 states which impose statewide sales taxes, only Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and D.C. specifically exempt feminine hygiene products from the sales tax base, according to the Tax Foundation.
Some women have argued that women having to pay sales taxes on menstrual products is “unfair,” referred to as the “pink tax,” but opponents have argued that adding products to the list of exempted items only creates more inequity under the law.
Women in Georgia, on average, pay less than $20.00 per year in state sales tax for feminine products.