A bill that would require parental permission for minors each time they visit a tanning salon has advanced as legislators passed it out of committee on a 3-2 vote Friday afternoon.
The House Health and Human Services committee discussed SB41 for more than an hour, as numerous supporters testified of the consequences of tanning as a teenager. Sponsor Sen. Pat Jones, D-Holladay, told the committee the bill puts parents in the driver's seat when regulating their children's tanning.
"Parents have a right to know when their kids tan and if they tan," Jones said. "If they do choose to let them do it, they have the information they need to make informed consent and that's what's important."
Sancy A. Leachman, director of the Huntsman Cancer Institute's Melanoma Cutaneous Oncology Program, said tanning is addictive and a carcinogen, and therefore is a public health issue.
"One of the greatest strengths in the leadership roles for the state of Utah has always been wise, proactive stands on healthy choices, healthy lifestyles and specific avoidance of toxic substances, and that's what this bill is," said Leachman.
Rep. Dan McCay, R-Riverton, voted against the bill, saying parents can control whether teens tan by controlling their money.
"The funding source is the enforcement issue," McCay, a self-proclaimed libertarian, told the committee. "This seems like we are doing more government enforcement."
Jones says she is optimistic the bill will pass in the House once representatives learn the statistics about tanning salons.
"We'll be educating people on the House side," Jones says. "People said this was doomed in the Senate, and it wasn't."
Rep. Brad Wilson, R-Kaysville is sponsoring the bill in the House.