On a pleasant late-winter day, the debate over indoor tanning warmed up again at the Idaho Statehouse.
House Bill 268, which would place age restrictions on indoor tanning, passed through the House Health and Welfare Committee Wednesday.
In March 2012, a robust debate erupted over House Bill 486aa, which proposed barring Idaho minors from using tanning beds.
"The purpose of this legislation is to prevent future skin cancers. Scientific evidence demonstrates a 75 percent increase in the risk of melanoma in those who have been exposed to UV radiation from indoor tanning," Dr. Ronald Moy, president of the American Academy of Dermatology, testified a year ago.
Wayne Hoffman, executive director of the Idaho Freedom Foundation, testified against the proposal and fired off emails to legislators, claiming that a number of Idaho physicians regularly prescribed tanning beds for patients suffering from depression or psoriasis.
The 2012 bill died following a hearing before the Senate Health and Welfare Committee.
But the 2013 version surfaced Wednesday before the House Health and Welfare Committee. The bill proposes a ban of children under age 16 from using commercial tanning salons. HB 268 would also mandate parental consent for 16- and 17-year-olds who wish to use a commercial tanning salon. Offenders could face $100 fines for a first offense, $300 for second offenses and $500 for subsequent offenses.
The Idaho Freedom Foundation was back Wednesday to push against the bill.
"What will be next, banning kids from sugary sodas or energy drinks, candy or even fast food?" asked Erik Makrush, Idaho Freedom Foundation's operations director. "This bill, if passed, will further the government intrusion into the lives of Idahoans and opens up even more restrictions in the upcoming years.”
The committee voted 8-2 in favor of the bill, forwarding the measure to the full House for its consideration.