Eye On Boise

THURSDAY, MARCH 22, 2012, 2:37 P.M.

Senate panel kills minors tanning-bed bill

The Senate Health & Welfare Committee has voted 5-3 to kill HB 486a, the bill to ban kids under 16 from using tanning beds and require those age 16 or 17 to have parental consent; you can read my full story here at spokesman.com

Sharee Skinner, owner of Southern Exposure Tanning Center in Nampa, told the committee her salon already requires parental consent for minors to tan and won't allow anyone under 13 to tan. She called the bill "great overreach of the government," and said, "You can moderately tan and that's what we have people do in our salon." Sen. Dan Schmidt, D-Moscow, said, "This is going to hurt your business, I'm trying to understand how much, like, what percentage of your business is kids under 16?" Skinner said, "Under 16 is probably about 5 percent of our business. Under 18, more like 20, 25 percent of our business."

Skinner also objected to warning signs the bill would require. "That's like asking the meat counter to put by the red beef that red beef, if you eat it is going to cause you to have a heart attack ... it's going to give you cancer. ... Don't ask us to put signs up that we don't believe are true."

Rep. John Rusche, D-Lewiston, a physician, showed  the committee a sample warning sign, and said, "This is a perfectly legal sign - I made it on the computer. Not very expensive."

He said, "This is about kids and tanning beds. It's not about french fries, it's not about red meat, it's not about swimsuits, it's not about being out in the sun. There is clear evidence. I have 68 studies. ... The World Health Organization, the FDA, have all called for a ban on tanning beds for minors." Rusche said, "We believe the role of adults is to help protect and raise children into healthy adults. This bill will lower cancer risk and cancer deaths."

Lobbyist Erik Makrush of the Idaho Freedom Foundation told the committee, "The nanny state of government keeps getting the proverbial nose of the camel under the tent," and said he felt the bill would restrict parents' rights. "Drinking and driving obviously does affect other people, whereas this affects only the individual," he said. The bill was backed by groups including the American Cancer Association, the Idaho Medical Association, numerous Idaho dermatologists and melanoma survivors.

Senators voting to kill the bill were Sens. Nuxoll, Vick, Heider, Smyser and Lodge. Opposing the motion were Sens. Schmidt, Bock and Broadsword.

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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Russell covers Idaho news from the state capitol in Boise and writes the Eye on Boise blog.

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