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Tanning Ban Makes a Comeback in Iowa Legislature

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DES MOINES, Iowa - The tanning ban is back.

Year after year, Iowa lawmakers mull over a proposal to ban tanning for minors in Iowa. As the years have progressed, the science behind the causes of skin diseases, like melanoma, as well as the public support, have increased and shifted toward approval for some sort of tanning ban.

Now, Iowa lawmakers in the House of Representatives are taking notice. Resurrecting a bill filed in the Senate last session by Senator Herman Quirmbach (D-Ames), a small subcommittee in the House passed the bill onto a full committee this week. The bill's original language proposed all Iowans ages 18 and under cannot access a tanning bed; House lawmakers amended the language to prohibit all Iowans ages 17 and under, hoping the one-year difference would sway some who are opposed to the measure to vote "yea."

"There are many people who feel very strongly that this is a parental choice issue," said Rep. Greg Forristall (R-Macedonia). "And that's why we changed the age from under 18, to under 17, in order to get more support within that group."

Sen. Quirmbach says, while he'd rather see the original 18-and-under language kept in the bill, if the small change means it will move forward, he's open to compromise.

"I'm happy it's moving forward, if they want to propose to move it down to anyone under 17, we're willing to discuss that," Sen. Quirmbach said. "Because if it moves out of committee in the House, it's seeing progress, and people are talking about it more, and those are good things."

Most bills face a legislative deadline of Feb. 19 - known as the first legislative "funnel" - to make it out of a committee, or else they aren't eligible for a floor vote in the House or Senate. But because this bill was resurrected from the Senate, where it passed last session, and assigned to a subcommittee in the House this session, Rep. Forristall says the funnel does not apply.

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