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Live Mic: House burns bill to ban teens from tanning beds

Photo: KSL TV Lawmakers in the Utah House have passed an updated bill to ban minors from using tanning beds even with parental consent. The bill was originally dropped earlier in the session.

SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah lawmaker had sunny hopes for his bill earlier this month, but on the first day of the legislative session, his legislation – to ban teens from tanning beds – was torched in defeat.

Orem Republican Rep. Brad Daw spoke earlier this month to host Lee Lonsberry on his show Live Mic to discuss his bill that would ban minors from tanning at commercial salons in Utah — no exceptions.

Daw said years earlier he was “strongly opposed” to similar legislation.

180-degree turn

But after advocates pointed him to the data, he concluded: “There is no good reason for a teen to be in a tanning booth,” Daw said.

He said on the show Jan. 9 that his current legislation has been very well-received, and he was optimistic about its chances, saying other states have gone this route.

Daw said research shows teens who use indoor tanning beds increase their risk of skin cancer “40 percent to 70 percent.”

“The cancer shows up later in life,” he said. “The damage is permanent.”

Right now, for a teen to get a tan at a commercial salon, a note from a parent or doctor must be presented. Daw’s bill eliminated this exception, enacting a total ban on teens in tanning beds.

On the first day of the legislative session, Daw learned the fate of his bill.

Lee was present for the debate and vote and watched it all go down in the House.

No teen tanning beds ban – this year

Republican Rep. Francis Gibson objected to the bill’s intrusion into a family matter, adding this barb: “We’re from the government and we’re here to help you.”

Which is a riff off President Ronald Reagan’s famous one-liner:

The most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help.

But Rep. Raymond Ward of Bountiful voiced support for Daw’s bill.

“If you tan at a commercial tanning bed in your teens, you have a 75 percent higher chance to get melanoma,” said Ward, who is also a family physician.

Heber City Republican Rep. Tim Quinn spoke against the bill.

“I think we need to get back to what the proper role of government is, and it is not preventing parents from allowing their children to get a tan,” he said.

At the end of the day, Daw’s bill was scorched in the House by a vote of 42-33.

Live Mic with Lee Lonsberry can be heard weekdays from 12:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app.