In a Friday afternoon vote of the Maryland Senate, the body passed legislation to prohibit operators of tanning facilities from allowing minors (those under the age of 18) to use tanning devices. Currently state law allows for minors to use tanning devices if given written consent from a parent or guardian. Additionally, the legislation requires the Maryland Department of Health to make available a written notice of the change in law and subsequently tasks the owners of tanning facilities to post said notice in a conspicuous location in their businesses.
The legislation (Senate Bill 299) is sponsored by Senator Joanne Benson (District 24 – Prince George’s County). In a February 28th hearing for the bill in the Senate Finance Committee Benson cited a marked increase in cancer risk for those who use tanning beds before the age of 35 as a rationale for the legislation. She explained: “Using an indoor tanning device before the age of 35 increases the risk of melanoma by 59%.” She followed: “By passing Senate Bill 299, we are making the promise to the future generations of Maryland that we’re going to do everything in our power to protect their health and future.”
Benson is joined in co-sponsorship of the legislation by three Senate colleagues including Senators Kagan (District 17 – Montgomery County), Lam (District 12 – Baltimore and Howard Counties), and Nathan-Pulliam (District 44 – Baltimore City and Baltimore County).
Benson’s legislation now moves to the House of Delegates for consideration. Senate Bill 299 is cross-filed with House Bill 124 which is sponsored by Delegate Karen Lewis Young (District 3A – Frederick County). Both Senate Bill 299 and House Bill 124 have now passed their chambers of origin and currently await consideration in the opposite chamber. No additional hearing information for either bill is available at this time. All legislation must successfully pass both the Maryland Senate and the Maryland House of Delegates by Sine Die on Monday, April 8th to be sent to Governor Hogan to be approved or vetoed.