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California bill to repeal 'tampon tax' heads to governor

A detail of a tampons box is seen in London, Britain March 18, 2016. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Reuters) - California lawmakers on Tuesday sent a bill to end state sales taxes on feminine hygiene products to Democratic Governor Jerry Brown, the latest success for a nationwide bipartisan effort to end the so-called tampon tax.

The bill, which would add tampons, sanitary napkins and other menstrual products to a list of necessities like food and prescription medicines that are not taxed, won unanimous support in the state Assembly on Tuesday, Democratic Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia said.

“Fundamentally, this is about gender equity and leveling the field,” Garcia, who represents parts of suburban Los Angeles, said in a news release. “Every month, for 40 years of our lives, we are taxed for being born women.”

At least 15 states have introduced legislation to repeal sales taxes on menstrual products. New York repealed its tax in June, joining Maryland, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Minnesota and New Jersey.

The movement appeals to Republicans because it repeals a tax and is favored by Democrats, who say it eliminates an unfair burden on women.

“It’s great to see both Democrats and Republicans coming together on this important effort all across the country,” said Republican Assemblywoman Ling-Ling Chang, who represents the Los Angeles suburb of Diamond Bar.

If Brown signs the bill, the state will lose about $20 million in tax revenue, according to a legislative analysis.

Reporting by Sharon Bernstein; Editing by Cynthia Osterman