Legislative Advocacy in California with IGNITE

During the 2019 California legislative session, IGNITE young women chose to advocate for Assembly Bill 31 to repeal the “tampon tax”.

#IGNITEtheCapitol California 2019

During the 2019 California legislative session, IGNITE young women chose to advocate for Assembly Bill 31 to repeal the “tampon tax”.

"I had the opportunity to travel to Sacramento with IGNITE to testify in front of the Tax and Revenue Committee regarding my support for AB31, repeal of the #tampontax. We met with Assemblymember Cristina Garcia, the author of the bill, and thank her for her dedication to making California’s tax code gender neutral. She also encouraged us to continue with our advocacy and discussed the importance of having women in politics. I look forward to mobilizing more women in the future!"

- Mana Shooshtari,  president and founder of San José State University’s IGNITE Chapter

Assembly Bill 31 recognizes that essential feminine hygiene products for women need to be made more affordable and accessible. Currently, women in California still pay over $20 million annually in taxes on tampons, sanitary napkins, and menstrual cups paying on average $7 a month for forty years of their lives. They are unaffordable for many Californians, and removing taxes for these products will help to alleviate the issue.

IGNITE women attended IGNITE the Capitol in Sacramento, California on April 9, 2019 to advocate for AB 31. These young advocates concluded their day of advocacy feeling heard, empowered, and eager to continue championing the causes they care about through legislative advocacy:

"Getting to see elected officials at their day jobs was inspiring. I feel even more empowered to use the legislative process to advocate the changes I want to see in the world." - Cecily Ma, San Diego State University, Freshman

"I wanted to meet legislators and staffers because I want to work in politics. I was not entirely sure about what everyone at the capitol does and what types of jobs I'd be interested in. I enjoyed meeting with staffers who were able to tell me about what they do." - Nikki  Eliaschev, SDSU, Freshman

"I will stay civically engaged by immersing myself in spaces that allow me to network and have conversations with other political leaders. I also plan on running for school board in the future."  - Fabiola Cuevas Flores, UCLA, Senior

"I learned more about state government and lobbying as well as various bills that support women’s rights, voting rights, and civic education. Yes, this changed my perspective and exposed me to different things I can do to get involved." - Mia Lyon, Berkeley City College, Freshman


Be an Advocate for Assembly Bill 31: Axe the Tampon Tax

Bill Summary: Essential feminine hygiene products are unaffordable for many Californians, as a first step removing taxes for these products will help to alleviate the issue. Currently, women in California still pay over $20 million annually in taxes on tampons, sanitary napkins, and menstrual cups paying on average $7 a month for forty years of their lives. California law exempts health items like walkers, medical identification tags, and prescription medication, including Viagra®. Menstrual health products are not tax-exempt in California even though they are deemed medical necessities by the Federal Drug Administration. AB 31 recognizes that essential feminine hygiene products for women need to be made more affordable and accessible.

Sign the statement of support Advocacy toolkit for SB 31 Bill Status 


More about Legislative Advocacy at IGNITE

Political power includes amplifying voice and perspective to advocate for the issues IGNITE women care about most. IGNITE participants and alumni are championing policies that uplift women and youth, like protecting women's rights and maximizing voter participation.

In our Legislative Advocacy training IGNITE, young women learn:

  • the basics of why it is critical their voice is heard,
  • how to be an effective advocate, and
  • the ins and outs of their local and states’ lawmaking process.

Following training, IGNITE women head to state capitols across the country for a hands-on advocacy experience. On “IGNITE the Capitol” visits, young women:

  • meet with state legislators and staffers to advocate for a specific bill,
  • foster connections with IGNITE women from across the state,
  • tour the capitol to learn the state government’s history and see democracy in action, and
  • share IGNITE’s work and mission with elected officials and staffers.