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Kentucky House Passes Bill that Bans Teens from Tanning Beds

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. 

Here is how Northern Kentucky representatives vote: YES: Dennis Keene (D-Wilder), Tom Kerr (R-Taylor Mill), Arnold Simpson (D-Covington), Diane St. Onge (R-Lakeside Park), Addia Wuchner (R-Florence). NO: Joe Fischer (R-Ft. Thomas), Adam Koenig (R-Erlanger), Sal Santoro (R-Florence).

Campaign contribution bill passes House, heads to Senate

A bill that would double individual campaign contribution limits in Kentucky has passed the Kentucky House.

House Bill 147, sponsored by House Speaker Greg Stumbo (D-Prestonsburg) would double the limit on individual campaign contributions from $1,000 to $2,000 as of this July and double the annual limit on individual contributions to a party’s state executive committee and affiliates from $2,500 to $5,000. It would also double from $10,000 to $20,000 the overall amounts allowed from permanent, executive and caucus campaign committees.

Stumbo said the individual campaign contribution limit proposed in HB 147 would still be below the national average of $2,400 to $5,600 per contribution. Twelve states have no contribution limits, he said.

The increased limits are only part of the bill, which would also allow corporate contributions to political party building funds and allow married couples to write one check for a contribution up to the individual limits of each spouse.

An amendment sponsored by House Minority Floor Leader Jeff Hoover (R-Jamestown) was added to the bill that would allow candidates to spend up to $200 (instead of the current $100) in campaign contributions to buy tickets to a campaign event. It would also limit establishment of building fund accounts to state executive committees of a political party whose candidate received no less than 15 percent of the total vote in the last regular election.

Rep. Jim Wayne (D-Louisville) said he does not think current contribution limits should be changed. He also said he opposed allow corporate contributions to building fund accounts.

“If we can’t sustain our party headquarters by the grassroots folks that believe in the principles of our parties, then what are we doing? We’re just selling our souls,” said Wayne.

Stumbo said the bill “simply raises the bar for campaign donations” in today’s political environment--adding that the state limits have not been changed since 1998.

HB 147 passed the House by a vote of 71-22 and now goes to the Senate. Of the Northern Kentucky members, only Simpson voted against the bill. 

From the Legislative Research Commission

Photo: Tanning bed (by Evil Erin via Wiki Commons)