It's called the "tampon tax," or sometimes the "pink tax," the tax that women must pay because they are, well, women, and subject to certain biological processes. 

Nebraska taxes feminine hygiene products as a luxury good, though few women would tell you buying tampons is a luxury, but rather a necessity. 

Omaha Sen. Mike McDonnell wants to get rid of that tax, and he introduced a bill (LB798) Thursday that would do that. 

While you may wonder how that debate in the Legislature would go if the bill makes it out of committee, McDonnell would argue what women, themselves, would: They are necessary items for a biological process, no extravagance or opulence involved. 

There are medical items in Nebraska some would say are not necessary, but that are tax-exempt. 

At least 12 states don't have a sales tax on tampons and similar products, including four states that don't have sales tax on anything. Maryland designates the products as medical items, which aren't taxable, for example. 

California is still working on eliminating the tax, after Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed a bill last year that would have ended the state's tax. Brown said tax breaks were the same as new spending. California Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia has come up with an idea this year to replace the lost revenue by raising the tax on hard liquor.

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Garcia's office said in a news release that women in California pay about $7 a month, for 40 years, for tampons and pads, and that statewide it adds up to more than $20 million annually in taxes. California law exempts health items such as prescription medication, including Viagra.

A co-sponsor of the California bill told the Washington Post the bill was tax relief for women. 

McDonnell also introduced another "feminine friendly" bill (LB795) Thursday related to designating a biological mother on a birth certificate. 

The biological mother is the woman who is the source of the egg that resulted in the conception of the child. The birth mother is the woman who gave birth to the child. 

Now, the biological mother has to wait six months before she can legally adopt her biological child. And the father has to give permission for her to do that. 

The bill would allow the biological mother and the birth mother, in the hospital, to complete a notarized acknowledgement of maternity, to be signed by both and filed with the Department of Health and Human Services at the same time as the birth certificate. The biological mother's name would then be on the certificate. 

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Reach the writer at 402-473-7228 or jyoung@journalstar.com

On Twitter @LJSLegislature.


State government reporter

JoAnne Young covers state government, including the Legislature and state agencies, and the people they serve.

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