LANSING (WWJ) – Legislation introduced in the state Senate would exempt feminine hygiene products from the Michigan sales and use tax.

It would include tampons, sanitary napkins (aka pads), and similar items.

Bill sponsor, State Representative Brian Elder (D-Bay City), says the state currently exempts everything from Pop tarts and magazines from sales tax. He adds that with feminine hygiene products a necessity for women, it’s unfair that they are forced to pay a 6 percent penalty.

Co-sponsoring the legislation are State Rep. Winnie Brinks (D-Grand Rapids), and state Senators David Knezek (D-Dearborn Heights) and Rebekah Warren (D-Ann Arbor).

“This issue is simple for me – feminine hygiene products are essential for the health and well-being of women from their adolescent years through adulthood,” said Sen. Knezek, in a statement. “Instead of classifying these products as luxury item, as the law currently states, we should treat them like the necessity they are. Michigan law exempts a number of medically necessary items from taxation – feminine hygiene products would be a natural addition to that list.”

Studies indicate that over the course of her lifetime, a woman is expected to use an estimated 17,000 tampons and sanitary napkins, products which can become quite expensive for low-income workers.

“Women continually and predictably will need to use feminine hygiene products for the majority of their adult lives,” said Rep. Brinks. “For her health and safety, as well as her own peace of mind, things like tampons and sanitary napkins are non-negotiables for a woman, so it is appropriate that these products be recognized for the essential need items that they are, and are treated accordingly.

Five states currently exempt such products from state taxes: Maryland, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Minnesota. In 2015, Canada also eliminated what was commonly referred to as the “tampon tax.”