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Republican uncomfortable with anti-tanning penalties in his own bill

Republican uncomfortable with anti-tanning penalties in his own bill

Dustin Hurst
February 20, 2015
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February 20, 2015

Here’s an oddity: The sponsor of a new House bill to ban teen indoor tanning without parental consent isn’t comfortable with the penalties assessed in his own legislation.

House Majority Caucus Chair John Vander Woude, R-Nampa, told IdahoReporter.com he’s not entirely comfortable with the penalties in his bill for service providers who violate the rules.

“I would probably guess it’s a little overboard,” Vander Woude said of the penalties, which include a fine of up to $500 for a first offense and between $500 and $1,000 for a second offense if it occurs within a year of the first violation.

Those penalties are already written in state law for teen piercing, branding and tattooing. Vander Woude's proposal adds tanning to that section of code.

The Republican lawmaker would like a lower amount. “I think 100 bucks would be more appropriate,” he suggested.

The bill would also ban individuals under 14 from using tanning beds at all, regardless of parental permission.

Vander Woude is co-sponsoring the bill with House Health and Welfare Chair Fred Wood, R-Burley.

Asked about the motivation behind the measure, the Nampa lawmaker suggested it can bridge a gap in the Capitol. “You know I’ve fought the tanning bill every year it’s come up and this has kind of been the compromise,” Vander Woude explained.

Is it the proper role of government, though? Vander Woude said if the state can regulate tattooing and piercing, “Then I think tanning fits in that same proper role.”

Lawmakers have proposed similar plans in the past few years, with different restrictions on ages in the various bills. The 2012 proposal, for example, banned tanning for youth under 18, unless teens had a doctor’s note.

None of the measures ever passed the full House, though one did win committee approval.

Wood's committee introduced with bill without opposition. The same panel will likely hear an in-depth discussion on the plan next week.

According the nonpartisan National Conference of State Legislatures, at least 41 states ban or regulate indoor tanning.


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