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Senate passes tanning bed teen ban on to Hassan

Last modified: 5/3/2015 5:26:09 PM
Minors would be banned from using tanning beds at salons under a bill approved by the Senate yesterday that now heads to Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan.

Hassan did not say whether she will sign or veto the legislation, but spokesman William Hinkle said Hassan “believes we must always be working to ensure the health and safety of our young people, and she will review the measure as it reaches her desk.”

Prompted by health concerns, the bill would bar anyone under the age of 18 from using tanning beds or booths at tanning facilities in the state unless authorized by a medical professional. The bill has already cleared the House.

Supporters say the ban will help protect teens from health risks, including skin cancer.

“It’s the right thing to do,” said Sen. Lou D’Allesandro, a Manchester Democrat. “Please, let’s protect our children.”

Indoor tanning before the age of 35 can increase melanoma risk by 59 percent, according to the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, which supports the bill.

A Danville couple, who testified in support of the ban at a recent House hearing, said their 30-year-old son died from melanoma, which doctors linked to tanning bed use.

But opponents argued the bill will take oversight away from parents and questioned what New Hampshire might consider banning next.

“This bill is too much, too high, and we need to rely on discretion of parents and their families,” said Sen. Andy Sanborn, a Bedford Republican, who added that existing state law is working as intended.

Currently, minors must get written consent from a parent or guardian to use a tanning facility in the state. Children younger than 14 are banned from tanning unless ordered by a medical professional.

Nearly a dozen states, including California, Illinois and Louisiana, ban the use of tanning beds for minors, and roughly 40 states regulate the use of tanning facilities by teens, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

A Senate committee had recommended lawmakers kill the tanning ban bill, but senators overturned the decision on the floor.

‘End-of-life decisions’

A bill to create a committee meant to study “end-of-life decisions” will head to Hassan’s desk. The committee would study positive and negative effects of legislation in states that have aid-in-dying laws, which is sometimes referred to as physician-assisted suicide.It would also look at quality end-of-life planning practices used by other states.

“Studying end-of-life decisions is the best way for New Hampshire to move forward in ensuring its residents have the best quality of living in the final stages of life,” said Sen. Martha Fuller Clark, a Portsmouth Democrat. The bill already cleared the House.

Hassan has previously vetoed a similar study committee in 2012, saying the bill was unnecessary because the state already was having these types of conversations. Any discussions about “the complex and emotional issues related to end-of-life decisions,” she said in her veto message, should focus “on helping all of those in our society to fully live their lives with the dignity that they deserve.”

‘Right to work’

The Senate delayed action on a “right to work” bill, effectively prohibiting collective bargaining agreements that require employees to join a labor union.

The legislation has already cleared the House, but senators yesterday opted to table the bill, which has been opposed by the state’s public employee unions.

The Senate had defeated a similar bill earlier this year. Senate Democrats applauded the decision after the vote.

(Allie Morris can be reached at 369-3307 or at amorris@cmonitor.com.)


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