On Nov. 5, 2024, Nevada voters will decide on a ballot measure that would provide a sales tax exemption for both child and adult diapers.
The measure, referred to the ballot by the Nevada State Legislature, would amend the Sales and Use Tax of 1955. The sales and use tax is on the total revenue generated from the sale and storage, use, or consumption of tangible personal property in Nevada. There are exemptions to the sales tax, including for farm machinery and equipment, food, prosthetic devices, newspapers, and other items.
Any amendments to the Nevada Sales and Use Tax of 1955 must be approved by voters. This is because, in 1956, Nevada voters approved a statute affirmation that asked voters whether the Sales and Use Tax Act should be retained or repealed. A statute affirmation is a citizen-initiated ballot measure that prevents the Legislature from repealing or amending a statute in the future without a direct vote of the electorate, and Nevada is the only state with this kind of measure. There have been two voter-approved statute affirmations in Nevada history—the 1956 question to retain the Sales and Use Tax Act, and a question in 1990 that affirmed a bill allowing for abortion up to 24 weeks.
Recently, Nevada voters approved exemptions from the sales and use tax for feminine hygiene products and for medical equipment in 2018. They approved Question 2, which exempted feminine hygiene products from the sales and use tax, by 56%-46%, and approved Question 4, which exempted durable medical equipment, oxygen delivery equipment, and mobility enhancing equipment by 67%-32%.
To place the measure on the ballot, a simple majority vote was required during one legislative session in the Nevada State Legislature, as well as the governor’s signature. The measure was introduced as Senate Bill 428 (SB 428), and was approved by the Senate by a vote of 21-0 on May 31, 2023. It was then approved by the Assembly by a vote of 41-0 on June 4. Gov. Joe Lombardo (R) signed the bill on June 15.
The National Diaper Bank Network, a nonprofit organization, said, “Thirty-three states (plus Washington D.C.) exempt food from their general sales tax and 5 states tax food at a lower rate than other goods. Like food, diapers are a basic necessity that families with young children require to thrive.”
Sixteen states, plus Washington D.C., have exempted diapers from sales tax.
The tax exemption for diapers is currently one of five ballot measures that will go to Nevada voters in 2024. Four were referred by the state legislature, and one was placed on the ballot by a successful citizen initiative. The other four measures on the ballot are:
- A measure that would remove the constitutional status of the Board of Regents
- A measure that would repeal language from the Nevada Constitution that allows the use of slavery and involuntary servitude as criminal punishments
- A measure that would revise language in the state constitution related to public entities that benefit individuals with mental illness, blindness, or deafness
- A measure that would provide for open top-five primaries and ranked-choice voting for general elections