Tanning bed legislation passes through committee with ease, 17-1

Photo provided by staff.
Wednesday, March 12, 2014 - 10:20pm

At the Louisiana State Capitol Wednesday, a bill that has a lot of people talking easily passed through committee. The core of the bill is to ban the use of tanning beds for minors.

There were emotional stories of pain and survival put out there on the table for everyone to hear, especially for some of Louisiana’s lawmakers.

"What you probably can’t tell by looking at me is that I have an incurable terminal cancer."

Kara Morgan started indoor tanning at age 13, now she's fighting for her life after being diagnosed with melanoma.

“I was diagnosed with stage 3 melanoma in 2011 at age 31."

Kristy Reese is another cancer patient that shared her story to the committee. She continued to say,

“I hope you pass the bill because I would never want anyone to ever go through what I went through.”

Dr. Mara Haseltine read off many statistics and facts that have been reported over the years about the correlations between cancer and tanning.

“We don’t let minors smoke cigarettes, or even drink so why would we allow them to do something that causes cancer,” noted Dr. Haseltine.

Proposed by Rep. Helena Moreno, this bill would prevent minors from using tanning beds which is something cancer patients like Kara Morgan say needs to happen.

"I am very confident that in the years to come we will look back at tanning beds the way we look at cigarettes now."

Even tanning salon owners expressed their feelings, stating that although it might hurt some business, as a parent and human it’s more important to protect our youth.

“If parents that have a problem with this bill I would ask them to look into he sunless tanning,” said Planet Beach Contempo Spa franchise owner, Brian Trascher.

After very little debate, the lawmakers agreed in a 17 to 1 vote for the bill.

“As it relates to children I think this is a great bill," said Rep. Regina Barrow, D-Baton Rouge.

"As you saw in committee once they saw the numbers it was clear that this is the right thing to do," said Rep. Moreno, D-New Orleans.

Now as the bill heads to the next level, the overall feeling is that progress is being made.

"I am cautiously optimistic about where it will go from here," said Morgan.

Louisiana would be the seventh state in the nation to adopt a bill banning the use of tanning beds for minors.
 

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