Bill to Ban Indoor Tanning by Minors Draws Large Crowds, Controversy
Four full panels testified in favor of a bill that would ban minors younger than 18 from the use of tanning facilities, in a standing-room-only chamber of the House Health and Government Operations Committee on Thursday.
This is the third session that Delegate Kirill Reznik, D-Montgomery, has introduced the bill. He said that he intends to help people develop better habits, not to put the tanning industry out of business or be mean to teenagers.
“How often does every medical organization and CareFirst (Medical Health Insurance) line up on the same side of an issue,” he said, citing the extensive support for the legislation banning minors from the “human panini presses.”
Delegate Clarence Lam, D-Baltimore and Howard, testified as a practicing doctor in favor of the bill. UV rays are more potent as a carcinogen to children than to adults, he said.
A 10 percent tax was imposed on tanning services nationwide with the Affordable Care Act. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently mandated a “black-box warning” be placed on every tanning bed, advising against minors’ use of the devices.
Current Maryland state laws require parental consent for minors younger than 18 to use tanning services, in line with at least 17 other states. Howard County laws ban minors under 18 from tanning services, as do 11 states and the District of Columbia.
Referencing other FDA rules and restrictions, Luke Golueke, owner of Aruba Sun & Spa, which has several locations in Maryland, said that there was no need to add another layer to an industry that has been compliant with strict regulation and oversight.
Lobbyist Bruce Bereano, representing the Maryland Indoor Tanning Association and SunSeekers, said that an outright ban, as the bill proposes, would interfere with parent-child relationships, while the current parental consent rules for minors encourages communication.
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan Enlists Parents to Change Federal Policy
As students bustled out of Wiley H. Bates Middle School in Annapolis Wednesday afternoon, about 100 parents, teachers and principals crowded into the school’s cafeteria to hear U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan present his goals to improve the nation’s education system.
At the top of his list were a “common sense approach to standardized testing,” including a limit to the number of tests each year and a move away from traditional “fill in the bubble” tests, as well as additional resources for disabled, poor and special needs students.
“Budgets aren’t just numbers. They’re about our values,” said Duncan.
Duncan called Bates’ integrated arts community a great example of how the country’s education system should work and said that, in many ways, Maryland is a national leader in education, but should not yet be satisfied with their success. Parents have to go beyond the bake sale to make a real impact, he said.
“Washington has been broken for quite a while, but don’t think it will change itself,” he told the crowd. “It takes an outside effort. Your voice, your leadership, your challenging is what will be the change.”
Also present at the town hall were National Parent-Teacher Association President Otha Thornton and Maryland State Superintendent of Schools Lillian Lowery.
New Latino Caucus Launches in Maryland General Assembly
The formation of a new Maryland Latino Legislative Caucus was announced Thursday, after the most recent election doubled the number of Latino representatives in the General Assembly from three to six — all Democrats.
The National Hispanic Caucus was formed with five members of Congress, and formation of a Latino caucus in Maryland just “made sense with the numbers,” said Executive Director Michelle Garcia.
State Delegate and Caucus Chair Joseline A. Peña-Melnyk, D-Prince George’s and Anne Arundel, said that the caucus was formed to bring the “unique perspective of being Latino” to the table.
While caucus meetings started before Gov. Larry Hogan announced his proposed budget, many of the group’s top priorities, including education and reducing health disparities, are related to cuts Hogan has included in his budget plan. Delegate David Fraser-Hidalgo, D-Montgomery, will serve as vice-chair.