JEFFERSON CITY — Missouri teens younger than 17 would need written parental approval to use tanning beds under legislation passed by the state House of Representatives on Thursday.
Salons that allow teenagers to tan without parental consent would face a $500 fine. State health officials would be charged with developing a standardized consent form for parents to use.
The 98-46 vote to send the bill to the state Senate showed a deep divide within the chamber's majority Republican caucus.
Some House Republicans, including the bill sponsor, said it would protect children from exposure to ultraviolet rays that can cause skin cancer. But GOP opponents argued that the measure is a burdensome government regulation that would harm tanning salons and run them out of business.
Rep. Rick Brattin, R-Harrisonville, voted against the bill and said the legislation ran contrary to what voters had elected him to do.
"They wanted less government and they wanted me to stop government intrusion in their business and in their workplace," said Brattin. "This injects government."
But other Republicans saw the measure as a balancing act that weighs government regulation with public health.
"It's not about regulating people. It is about protecting our young, innocent youth," said sponsoring Rep. Gary Cross, R-Lee's Summit.
The House has passed similar legislation in previous years, but the bills have not made it out of the Senate.