Those who thought last November’s election meant there would be less intrusion into families and raising children are going to get a reality check with Senate Bill 471. It carries the mom and apple pie title of Youth Skin Cancer Prevention Act and is sponsored by Sen. William R. Purcell (D-Scotland) ; Sen. Eric Mansfield (D-Cumberland) and Sen. James Forrester (R-Gaston). All three of these senators are medical doctors.
With such a good sounding name and being sponsored by medical doctors how could I possibly pick this as the Bad Bill of The Week? For starters it contains the primary requirement that all bad bills start with, a noble purpose. In this case it is to try and reduce the incidence of skin cancer. What it really does is remove parents of children between the age of 13 and 18 from the decision making process of allowing their children to use a tanning facility and instead turns that decision over to the state and a doctor. We have seen this type of effort before as in last year’s House Bill 1726 which may end up banning whole milk and juices from day care centers.
Currently tanning businesses are required to have a parents’ permission to allow a child between the ages of 13 and 18 to use a tanning bed. For children under the age of 13, a doctor’s prescription is required.
With SB 471, however, parents will be removed from the role of ultimate authority and replaced by a doctor. The bill would force children under the age of 18 to obtain a doctor’s prescription in order to use a tanning facility.
Carrying the line of thought that promotes a bill like this to a logical conclusion, you can envision a day when a parent of a child in this age range could be reported for child abuse if their child receives a bad sunburn on a trip to the beach or from a day at the pool.
I thought the 2010 election was about spending, taxes and overreaching government. I guess I was wrong and it was about making sure parents are removed from the decision to allow their 17 year old daughter go to the tanning booth before her prom. Because the 2010 election was about limited government and not about extending the “Nanny State”, Senate Bill 471 is this week’s Bad Bill of the Week.
(Full disclosure: the author has spent far too much time out in the sun and his parents allowed him to get as red as he wanted in the summer. He made sure his children were more careful and allowed them to use a tanning bed.)