Contrite lobbyist amends Idaho bill banning teen tanning, removes misdemeanor penalty

A bill banning those younger than 16 from tanning booths and requiring in-person parental consent for 16- and 17-year-olds was abruptly withdrawn before a scheduled public hearing and replaced with a new bill Wednesday.

The change in House Bill 191 was simple: The criminal penalty was excised. Civil fines remain, at $100 for the first offense, $300 for a second offense within a year and $500 for subsequent offenses. The original bill put the top fine at $1,000. Another tanning bill died last year.

Ken McClure, the veteran lobbyist for the Idaho Medical Association, apologized to the committee and citizens who had expected a full hearing on HB 191 Wednesday morning.

“After we talked with many of you on the committee it became apparent that there was a common concern on House Bill 191,” McClure said. “Rather than try and come and bash heads and try to convince you that it’s not a problem, we have asked the chairman and the chairman has granted the opportunity to print a new bill.”

Facing an 11-member committee with five freshmen, McClure explained, “I’m having difficulty reading this body this year. Things that I thought I understood, I obviously don’t understand. It’s taken a little bit more time to understand what it is you folks would like to see from us.”
The new bill was printed on a voice vote, with House GOP Caucus Chairman John Vander Woude of rural Ada County and Rep. Brandon Hixon, R-Caldwell, recorded as voting no.

Dan Popkey came to Idaho in 1984 to work as a police reporter. Since 1987, he has covered politics and has reported on 25 sessions of the Legislature. Dan has a bachelor's in political science from Santa Clara University and a master's in journalism from Columbia University. He was a Congressional Fellow of the American Political Science Association and a Journalism Fellow at the University of Michigan. A former page in the U.S. House of Representatives, he graduated Capitol Page High School in 1976. In 2007, he led the Statesman’s coverage of the Sen. Larry Craig sex scandal, which was one of three Pulitzer Prize finalists in breaking news. In 2003, he won the Ted M. Natt First Amendment award from the Pacific Northwest Newspaper Association for coverage of University Place, the University of Idaho’s troubled real estate development in Boise. Dan helped start the community reading project "Big Read." He has two children in college and lives on the Boise Bench with an old gray cat.

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