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Commentary: Florida state legislators want to be your nanny

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Florida Democratic State Senator Eleanor Sobel and Florida State Representative Democrat Elaine Schwartz have introduced identical bills to control more Floridian's lives. Both are trying to gather support in Tallahassee to increase the already over regulated tanning salon industry in Florida. Schwartz's bill HB 499 was filed on Monday, January 6, 2014 in the Florida House titled "Use of Tanning Facility by a Minor".

It is not good enough for Schwartz or Sobel that there is already regulation in place preventing minors from using a tanning bed unless they have the written permission from their parent or legal guardian. They both wish to add the regulation the Floridian under 18 years old will need a doctor's prescription to utilize the beds and a violation could result in the tanning operator time in jail.

Apparently Sobel was shocked to learn there are more tanning beds in Florida than McDonald's restaurants. Oddly they are trying to equate the number of tanning beds with the number of fast food restaurants which is hard for many to understand, but about as much logic went into drafting the draconian bills. Sobel and Schwartz are no friends of the free market as their measures, if passed, will be costly to the tanning salon market in Florida.

One of the reasons cited for the bill proposal is to save our children from ultraviolet (UV) rays which can increase one's chances of developing skin cancer. Strangely missing from Sobel and Schwartz's bills are an increase of tanning police. After all the beach, backyards, pools, boats, state parks and innumerable places in Florida is where teens can receive overexposure to UV rays. Shall we expect a future regulation forcing parents to keep the top up to their convertible when transporting their children in the Sunshine State? Can we expect future measuring devices as per skin type of Floridians and tourists visiting the state.

Nanny State Democrats, just like Nanny State Republicans, need to let people live their lives as they see fit and end the constant intrusion into Floridian's lives. Threatening Floridians with jail time over tanning is an absurdity, especially here in Florida, just like it is an absurdity in California. People are going to overexpose themselves to the sun as they have for hundreds of years and your draconian laws, as well intentioned as they are, will do little to nothing to thwart future occurrences. Teens will continue to find a way around the system and instead of going into a controlled environment such as a tanning salon, they will utilize other methods that are far less controlled.

Skin cancer is a very serious topic and to use it simply to score political points for re-election is appalling. There is already existing public disclosure regulation concerning the health risks concerning UV rays and tanning beds, so the public has been informed, parents have been informed and they can choose to say "Yes" or "No" to allowing their teen into a tanning booth. Bureaucrats from Tallahassee need not meddle into a parent's rights. Enough of the 'we must protect the children' mentality. There is enough existing regulation to do just that. Unless it is Sobel and Schwartz's intent to force proper cover over teens at the beach, public pools and state parks, then stop the charade.

The public through the free market will determine if there are too many tanning beds in Florida not the Florida legislature. If there are more tanning beds than McDonald's or Starbucks, then that should tell you something - they're popular! Republicans have already taxed Florida tanning salons to the max and they still remain popular - so let it be.

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