Legislature

Youth tanning legislation fails again

Bill falls 4-3 in Senate Appropriations Committee after passing House

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Once again, an effort to curb artificial tanning among youths has failed at the Legislature.

House Bill 1054 died after it failed to garner enough support to make it out of a Senate committee last week.

The bill would have prohibited persons under 18 from using artificial tanning devices, particularly tanning beds. It is the third year in a row that a youth tanning bed restriction bill has died at the Capitol.

“I was disappointed because I believe this is a very important piece of legislation to protect young children,” said Sen. Lois Tochtrop, D-Thornton, a bill sponsor.

Tochtrop and other bill supporters cited the potentially cancer-causing ultraviolet rays that emit from tanning beds as motivation behind the effort. They believed that it was in the state’s best interest to prevent youths from using artificial tanning devices, because it would result in fewer cases of life-threatening melanoma skin cancer.

More than 30 states place some sort of limitations on youth tanning. Had the bill become law, businesses would have faced stiff fines for allowing youths to use their tanning devices.

The bill had previously passed the House and a Senate committee prior to its demise in the Senate Appropriations Committee. The bill failed on a vote of 4-3, with Sen. Pat Steadman, D-Denver, joining committee Republicans in voting against the bill.
The bill faced stiff odds even before it got to the Senate.

It passed the Democrat-majority Senate by just two votes, with four Democrats voting against the effort.

Many who opposed the bill said the effort was a government overreach that takes away the rights of parents to make their own decisions of what’s best for their children.
The legislation was of particular importance to Rep. Cherylin Peniston, D-Westminster, the House bill sponsor.

Peniston had tried unsuccessfully in previous legislative sessions to get a youth tanning ban through the Capitol. Because she is term-limited, this was Peniston’s last effort to get the bill through.

“I am deeply disappointed about what happened in the Senate and I hope that somebody is here next year to pick this up and make it a reality,” Peniston said.