Eye On Boise

House votes down indoor tanning ban for kids 15 and younger

Rep. John Rusche, D-Lewiston, debate in favor of unsuccessful legislation in the House on Monday to ban kids age 15 and younger from using artificial tanning beds in commercial salons, and require parental consent for those age 16 and 17. (Betsy Russell)
Rep. John Rusche, D-Lewiston, debate in favor of unsuccessful legislation in the House on Monday to ban kids age 15 and younger from using artificial tanning beds in commercial salons, and require parental consent for those age 16 and 17. (Betsy Russell)

The House has voted down legislation that it passed last year, to ban kids age 15 and younger from using artificial tanning beds in commercial salons, and require parental consent for those ages 16 or 17. The bill failed on a 25-43 vote. “If a high school student comes to school with a tan, is that high school student immediately sent to the principal’s office and asked where’d you get the tan?” asked Rep. John Vander Woude, R-Nampa. “I really think that there’s a personal responsibility here, and I think we’re really overstretching.”

Rep. Terry Gestrin, R-Donnelly, said, “One more time we’re asked to place a burden on small business. … Small business has a tough enough time to make it today, I don’t think it’s our position to put further restriction on small business. This decision … lies with the parents.”

Rep. Fred Wood, R-Burley, a physician, said, “I think the science is very clear here, I don’t think there’s much dispute about that.” Indoor tanning at a young age increases the risk of skin cancer, he said. “I think that this is a true public health question.” Rep. Paul Romrell, R-St. Anthony,who serves on the Health & Welfare Committee, said, “We heard considerable testimony. ... This is a bill where we can save lives, and when those lives are our kids or our grandkids, that should be an easy decision, I think, for us to make.”

House Minority Leader John Rusche, D-Lewiston, told the House, “It was presented to us that many children tan without their parents’ knowledge or consent. … It’s not often that we as legislators vote on bills that will save lives. … This bill will save lives.” Last year’s measures passed the House but died in a Senate committee; this year’s, which had no criminal penalties, didn’t make it past the House.




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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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