#RoyalPeriods: Women Took to Twitter to Fight California’s Tampon Tax

When California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) vetoed the so-called “tampon tax” bill that would have eliminated taxes on menstrual necessities last week, state Assembly member Cristina Garcia (D), who authored the legislation, encouraged women to speak out about the issue on Twitter using the hashtag #RoyalPeriods.

Some women did, sharing stories that fly in the face of the notion that menstrual products should be taxed like “luxury” products.


The veto was a blow to activists at the local and national level who pressured the state to remove the tax. Rachel Lee and her twin sister Helen, both 18-year-old students at UCLA, created a petition in support of AB 1561 that garnered over 25,000 signatures. The sisters were traveling to deliver the petition to the governor in Sacramento when they heard about the veto.

“Yesterday was not our best day, as we were disheartened, let down, and admittedly angry,” the sisters told Ms. “We were on a train for 9 hours to deliver the 24,000+ signatures on the petition we gathered. We then met with Governor Brown’s deputy secretary and conveyed how upset we were.”

The governor’s office said the bill was vetoed because tax issues are typically addressed in the fiscal budget and not in the form of an assembly bill.

A national movement has been mounting to eliminate taxation on menstrual necessities.  Both Illinois and New York eliminated their taxes on these products this year.

Eliminating the “tampon tax” in California would have saved women in the Golden State around $20.2 million per year. Right now, menstrual products are taxed as “luxury” products. Tax exemptions exist for many products across the country. Proponents of the bill argued that items like tampons, menstrual pads and diapers are necessities and should be considered for the same status.

20160909_121504Michele Sleighel is working on her thesis for a MA in Communication at the University of Texas in San Antonio and has an undergrad degree in PR from the University of Texas in Austin. She’s an editorial intern at Ms. When she’s not researching and writing, she drinks coffee and thinks about researching and writing. She’s very proud of her El Paso roots. 

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Michele Sleighel is a former Research Assistant at the Feminist Majority Foundation. She has an MA in Communication at the University of Texas in San Antonio and a BS in PR from the University of Texas in Austin and is very proud of her El Paso roots. Find her on Twitter @MicheleSleighel