Senate adopts youth tanning bed ban

Tanning BedBy Bob Eschliman


Following a rigorous, but civil, debate over proposed legislation aimed at preventing people younger than 18 from using tanning beds, the Iowa Senate passed the bill on a party-line vote.

Senate File 232 was adopted Tuesday, 26-23, following 28 minutes of debate, most of which focused on an amendment from state Sen. Mark Chelgren (R-Ottumwa). He argued a parent or guardian should be able to give a note to a tanning facility to allow a child under their care or custody between the ages of 16 and 18 to use a tanning bed.

Chelgren’s amendment would have amended an amendment to make SF 232 conform more closely with the House version of the proposed legislation offered by the bill’s floor manager, state Sen. Bill Dotzler (D-Waterloo). His amendment to the amendment, however, failed on a 31-18 vote.

The Senate also adopted Senate File 415, a bill to amend Iowa code as it relates to the administration of elections and election officials. State Sen. Tom Courtney (D-Burlington) made an amendment, which would allow for broader consolidation of polling places for lower-population precincts, that passed on a voice vote.

Chelgren also offered an amendment to do away with straight-party voting in general elections. He argued the straight-ticket option unfairly benefited the Republican and Democratic parties in Iowa, noting that independents make up the largest portion of the Iowa electorate.

Courtney, in response, urged his colleagues to reject the amendment. He said Iowans were “smart enough” to know what to do, and that straight-party voting afforded them an option to quickly vote for the party that aligns with them when they may be pressed for time.

Chelgren’s amendment failed, ironically, on a party-line vote, 26-23. SF 415, as amended, was adopted on a 40-9 vote.

Senators also adopted Senate File 456, which allows Class C liquor permit holders, such as convenience stores and retail outlets, to sell refillable alcoholic containers – known as “growlers” – that can be transported for consumption off premises. Without debate, the bill passed on a 40-9 vote.

The Senate also unanimously adopted Senate File 397, an act to amend Iowa Code as it relates to numerous matters under the purview of the Iowa Department of Transportation. At the end of the session, the Senate unanimously confirmed the appointment of Dr. Beth Townsend to be the Director of Iowa Workforce Development.