Capitol Alert

California diaper advocate pushes for low-income access

For parents of young kids, diapers present both a necessity and a constant cost. There’s not much Norah Weinstein can do about the first part, but she’d like to ease the impact of the second.

Diaper affordability has proved to be a popular issue in California. Assembly members voted overwhelmingly in favor of legislation to end the sales tax on diapers and to create a $50 monthly welfare diaper stipend for working parents. The issue has also gotten attention in Washington, with President Barack Obama penning a Mother’s Day missive calling for the private sector to help promote diaper access and Obama adviser Cecilia Muñoz spotlighting the issue.

Weinstein, head of a Los Angeles nonprofit called Baby2Baby that distributes diapers and other items to nonprofits that then pass them to children in low-income families, was in Sacramento on Tuesday to testify in favor of the California bill creating diaper welfare payments. Assembly Bill 492 passed the Senate Human Services Committee on an 4-0 vote.

A survey of diapers for sale at a pharmacy near the Capitol found costs ranging from $28.99 for brand-name packs containing between 66 and 92 diapers, depending on the baby’s size, to $14.29 for off-brand packs of 40 to 60. According to Baby2Baby, the average infant goes through eight to 10 a day, translating into an average cost of around $100 a month.

The “diaper gap,” Weinstein said, also doubles the cost for some low-income mothers who don’t have the ability to travel to discount stores or access Internet deals.

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