In the 2018 midterm election, Nevadans voted to pass Question 2 on the statewide ballot. As Charis Nixon reports, passage means pads and tampons will be exempt from sales tax starting in 2019. Opponents argued that the bill would cost the state a lot of money, while not having enough of an effect on the price of feminine hygiene products to significantly benefit those who buy them.
Graphic by Brooke Ruhl
A Significant Vote
According to Nora Prochaska, a lead campus organizer for the Feminist Majority Foundation, a non-profit organization, whose stated mission is to advance non-violence and women’s power, equality, and economic development, the passage of Question 2 is a significant moment for women in Nevada.
“Passing Question 2 means that Nevadans have finally recognized that no one should be taxed just for having a menstrual cycle,” Prochaska said. “It also means that poor women in Nevada will have a notably easier time paying for basic necessities.”
Proponents of the bill argued that feminine hygiene products are necessary for survival, and that sales tax on these products unfairly targets females. Photo by Lucia Starbuck.
The bill is a legislatively referred state statute, meaning that the state legislature elected to put it on the ballot and have the public vote on it. This is in contrast to an initiated statute, which is when voters get a measure onto the ballot, usually by a group collecting signatures. This year, Question 4 and Question 6 were two initiated statutes on the ballot.
Out of the six ballot measures, Question 2 was the closest vote. The ballot measure passed with about 56.5 percent voting “Yes” and 43.5 percent voting “No”. Though she said she was confident the bill would pass, Prochaska said the amount of “No” votes the bill received was “pretty unfortunate.”
“It seems like a no-brainer. But 43 percent of voters said ‘no’,” Prochaska said of Question 2 passing by a close margin. Photo by Lucia Starbuck.
Joining Other States
Question 2 was not financed by any ballot measure committees. For comparison, Question 4, which exempted necessary medical equipment from sales tax, also received no campaign contributions and passed with 67.38 percent voting Yes and 32.62 percent voting No.
Nevada joins nine other states, plus the District of Columbia, in specifically exempting feminine hygiene products from sales tax. Prochaska said that this could be a sign of larger change in America.
“To me, that says that Americans are starting [to] understand the economic implications of feminism, to understand that women deserve a fair stake in the economy. This is, of course, the result of years of struggle on the part of feminists, even if most voters don't recognize that,” Prochaska said.
Reporting by Charis Nixon for the Reynolds Sandbox