Tanning bed bill, sponsored by Rep. Watkins of Henderson, OK’d by House, goes to Senate


FRANKFORT—No one under the age of 18 would be able to use a tanning bed in the state of Kentucky—with or without their parent’s permission—except for medical reasons under a bill that has cleared the state House.

Under House Bill 196, sponsored by Rep. David Watkins, D-Henderson, tanning beds could only be used by those under age 18 for phototherapy or another medical purpose. Watkins said he filed the bill in response to an increase in melanoma among young people.

“We shouldn’t be seeing this rise in skin cancers and especially melanoma, which can be deadly,” said Watkins, a physician.

Current state law requires teenagers between the ages of 14 and 18 to have a signed parental consent form before they can use a tanning bed. House Minority Whip Jim DeCesare, R-Bowling Green, opposed HB 196 and spoke in favor of parental control.

“I like being a parent. I enjoy being a parent,” said DeCesare. “Let parents be parents. We have laws on the books that deal with this issue that allows parents to make the decision for their children.”

Speaking in favor of HB 196 was Rep. Cluster Howard, D-Jackson, who said the bill was “just common sense.”

“He’s not trying to take away personal freedom. The man is bringing forth a bill that I think makes just good common sense. Sometimes, it makes sense to use common sense,” said Howard.

HB 196 passed the House by a vote of 55-37 and now goes to the Senate for consideration.

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