A bill filed by Sen. Lauren Book to create a tax exemption for purchases of diapers and incontinence products cleared its first hurdle Monday.
It emerged from the Senate Committee on Commerce and Tourism with unanimous approval.
Committee Chair Joe Gruters and Vice Chair Victor Torres were joined by members Linda Stewart, Travis Hutson and Tom Wright for Monday’s vote. All five Senators agreed to advance the measure (SB 60) without debate.
Book, who represents Senate District 32 in Broward County, has introduced a version of the bill in previous sessions, though it has so far failed to pass. Like the bill’s current incarnation, previous versions did emerge from the Committee on Commerce and Tourism, also with unanimous approval.
However, the previous two versions both died after being taken up by the Appropriations Subcommittee on Finance and Tax. That’s a fate Book is hoping to avoid with this year’s version.
The measure would exempt not just diapers from the state’s 6 percent sales tax, but adult incontinence products such as Depends as well.
The exemption will take effect on Jan. 1, 2020 if it is ultimately successful in the legislature and signed into law by soon-t0-be Gov. Ron DeSantis.
Monday’s meeting was the first step in the process after Book filed the bill back in November. In a statement to Florida Politics, Book argued the exemption is aimed at helping families make ends meet.
“Diapers are a major expense and a necessity for any household with young children or adults with incontinence issues, running in excess of $75 a month on average,” Book said.
“For some families, this is just another piece of their monthly budget. But for others, the cost of diapers can present impossible choices: Should we pay the electric bill or buy diapers?”