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Sen. Jennifer Boysko (left), D-Fairfax, introduced a bill to eliminate sales tax on feminine hygiene products, but it was changed to lower the tax instead. At right is Sen. Amanda Chase, R-Chesterfield.

Gov. Ralph Northam on Wednesday signed legislation that will lower the sales tax on feminine hygiene products such as tampons and sanitary napkins.

The “Dignity Act,” introduced by Sen. Jennifer Boysko, D-Fairfax, originally sought to nix the sales tax for these products altogether. Boysko’s bill was changed to match that of Del. Kathy Byron, R-Bedford, which passed as it was introduced. The final legislation lowers the sales tax on the products to 2.5 percent.

“I am pleased to sign this commonsense legislation that makes these necessities more accessible and affordable,” Northam said. “The essential nature of personal health care products is not up for debate and I commend the General Assembly for coming together to ensure these savings for Virginians.”

The lowered tax rate applies to disposable incontinence products for babies and adults, such as diapers. It also includes any product “used to absorb or contain menstrual flow.”

These products are now subject to the full sales tax, which is 5.3 percent in Richmond and as high as 7 percent in Hampton Roads’ Historic Triangle area.

A monthly supply of disposable menstrual products typically ranges between $6 and $15 per month. The enacted legislation could save families between $2 and $5 a year per family member in need of the products.

“Lowering the tax on these necessities is the right thing to do,” Boysko said in a written statement. “I am so glad we have made progress on the issue of menstrual equity and at long last will have tax relief for these products that women and families have to purchase.”

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mleonor@timesdispatch.com

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Twitter: @MelLeonor_

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