LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas — (Eds. note: The attached video is from a Dec. 2020 report from our Tegna affiliate WTSP about a teen who is working to end period poverty in Tampa, Florida.)
Arkansas State Representative Aaron Pilkington (R-Knoxville) has introduced a bill that would exempt feminine hygiene products for sales and use tax.
If passed, this bill would make tampons, panty liners, menstrual cups, sanitary napkins, and other similar feminine hygiene products tax-free items.
Pilkington introduced the bill on December 31, 2020 along with Sen. Breanne Davis (R-Davis). The bill is co-sponsored by Representatives Austin McCollum (R-Bentonville), Carlton Wing (R-North Little Rock), Denise Jones Ennett (D-Little Rock), and Sen. Trent Garner (R-El Dorado).
Several U.S. states have passed bills exempting feminine products from sales tax. In March 2020, the Washington Senate voted unanimously to exempt the products.
According to Period Equity, an organization dedicated solely to ensuring accessible, affordable and safe menstrual products, there are currently 30 states that do not allow tax-free feminine products. Arkansas is one of them.
The organization argues that paying sales tax for feminine hygiene products is an "unfair and discriminatory economic burden." The organization also claims states profit an estimated $130 million annually from it.
If approved, the new exemptions would take effect on the first day of the calendar quarter following its approval.