Capitol Alert

Diaper changes advanced by Assembly

Dirty diapers in a pail waiting for disposal at the Kids World Learning Center in Rancho Cordova on February 14, 2003.
Dirty diapers in a pail waiting for disposal at the Kids World Learning Center in Rancho Cordova on February 14, 2003. Sacramento Bee Staff Photo

Babies need diapers, and parents could use some help buying them.

That premise motivated a sizable chunk of the California Assembly’s business on Thursday, with lawmakers advancing bills to exempt diapers from sales taxes and authorize a welfare credit for purchasing the infant underwear.

In a rare moment of bipartisan accord on tax policy, lawmakers voted 70-0 to pass Assembly Bill 717 and nix the diaper tax. Members of both parties noted that the list of currently tax-exempt items in California includes candy, yoga classes, dry ice and – poultry litter.

“If poultry litter can be tax-free,” said Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez, R-Lake Elsinore, “I think we can extend ourselves to make diapers tax-free as well.”

There was a little less agreement on Assembly Bill 492, which would allocate a $50 per child monthly diaper-buying stipend to parents who are receiving subsidized childcare as part of their participation in a welfare-to-work program. The bill passed 60-5, with all the no votes coming from GOP members, though several Republicans also backed the measure.

“Knowing how much diapers are, what happens to hard-working families that cannot purchase diapers and are living paycheck to paycheck?” asked Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, who authored both measures.

Jeremy B. White: 916-326-5543, @CapitolAlert

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