|02-13-2014, 06:01 PM||#1 (permalink)|
Join Date: Aug 27 2002
Location: East Coast
Rep Power: 15
ITA Update 2/12/14
Indoor Tanning Association, Inc., PO Box OO Mclean, VA 22101• Phone: 703-336-3632 •
Member Update 02/12/2014:
Executive Director’s Report
The Congress reconvened on January 6 and prospects for any lessening of partisan tensions seem remote. When Senate Majority Harry Reid (D-NV) invoked the "nuclear option” in late November, he virtually assured continued gridlock in the United States Senate. The "nuclear option” in broad terms means that most of President Barack Obama’s judicial and executive branch nominees no longer need to clear a 60-vote threshold to reach the Senate floor and get an up-or-down vote.
This is important to us in a couple of ways. In practical terms, because of the negative fallout this move will cause with Senate Republicans, the President is less likely to see any of his legislative priorities move through Congress this session. It also very likely means we can expect a lot more action in the regulatory agencies because the Senate can now clear executive appointments much more quickly. Therefore, many agencies will have new leadership and the regulatory agencies are the only place the President can move his agenda forward.
For an industry like ours, Congressional gridlock is a mixed blessing. Unfortunately, for the past few years, proposals coming out of the Congress that could affect this industry have been overwhelmingly harmful to small business generally, and the indoor tanning industry specifically. With that in mind, a "do-nothing’ Congress is not a bad thing for us.
On the other hand, the only way the tan tax will ever be repealed is if the two parties work together on tax reform. Most experts agree tax reform is possible this year but still a remote goal. Couple the hard feelings over the nuclear option with standard election year politics and the difficulties for the two parties to work together are even further magnified.
However, on the regulatory front where the President still calls most of the shots, we have to be prepared for a more aggressive government. The President is trying to salvage his second term as well as his legacy, and the regulatory agencies is one place he can still move the ball.
In Washington, we are working ever diligently to make sure our friends on Capitol Hill stay well versed on all the regulatory initiatives in the pipeline that could negatively affect this industry. Simultaneously, we must make certain that the decision-makers in the Federal Agencies understand there are many in Congress who continue to demand fair treatment for thousands of small businesses nationwide, including ours!
Thanks, John Overstreet
Capitol Hill Update
Also in January, two senior legislators who are longtime industry supporters met with FDA officials to discuss the pending administrative order to reclassify sunlamp products to class II medical devices. It is my belief that the FDA realizes it made mistakes when it issued the proposed order. (The ITA highlighted these mistakes in our comments, CLICK here to read the comments.) This meeting with the FDA was another opportunity for FDA officials to hear that Members of Congress also think mistakes were made in the process and that Congress is watching developments closely.
On Capitol Hill, the recent budget agreement for 2014 will restore what legislators call "regular order” to the process for funding the government for 2015 which will begin this spring. For us this means our adversaries could again have legislative vehicles moving through committee that provide opportunities for mischief.
Remember in 2012, Rep. Rosa DeLauro offered an amendment to the FDA appropriations bill that would have required the FDA to reclassify sunlamp products to either class II or class III medical devices. Our challenge will be to continue to remind our supporters that a similar effort is always possible and make sure we are prepared should anyone try a similar stunt.
No news is good news and for now, all is quiet at the FDA. As everyone knows, this year we could possibly see two actions by the FDA that could have a major impact on our industry – the proposed order to classify sunlamp products and a rulemaking to amend the performance standard for sunbeds.
At our budget meeting in December, the board passed a budget that sets aside a "war chest” to deal with anything that might come out of the FDA this year. We hope we don’t have to use it but, as the old saying goes, "plan for the worst and hope for the best.”
Uncertain Future …
Under-21 Bans Coming?
By John P. Ribner
If the government banned tanning for everyone under 21, would your business survive? One tanning industry veteran says that such a scenario could be in this industry’s future.
Under-21 tanning bans could spell disaster for salon owners in every state, according to tanning industry veteran Rob Quinn. While no state or local legislature is currently proposing such measures, Quinn believes that it’s only a matter of time before they do, citing New York City’s recent passing of a bill banning tobacco sales to anyone under 21 as proof. Indoor tanning’s detractors have always compared UV tanning to tobacco use, he says, and those same critics have proven they’ll stop at nothing to regulate this industry out of business. Fortunately, Quinn sees a way of heading off such prospective legislation at the pass, but it will take an indoor tanning industry that’s focused, prepared and willing to fight it out to the end.
As a salon owner with 15 years of experience and an Indoor Tanning Industry Board member, Rob Quinn is familiar with attacks upon the industry he loves. His concerns about possible tanning bans were raised after reading a November 13 article in the Columbus Dispatch, where columnist Micah Berman suggests Ohio should follow New York City’s lead with an under-21 smoking ban. "Business owners need to understand that this is not speculation,” said Quinn. "Several years ago, we saw an under 21 ban proposed in draft legislation in North Carolina and an outright ban on all indoor tanning was introduced in the New York Legislature by a member of the Health Committee.” He added that tanning’s detractors have long compared the activity to smoking cigarettes so it would be naïve to think that these same critics aren’t making the connection between the proposed tobacco bills and something similar for indoor tanning already. He believes tanning critics and detractors will simply wait to see if more states and municipalities follow New York’s lead on this issue. If similar bills are passed in other areas, he says it will be only a matter of time before the first under-21 tanning ban appears in a state legislature.
The article that Quinn read stated that the smoking ban was designed to curb underage smoking and it was successful in doing so. Lawmakers in Needham, MA implemented the law in 2005, and reported a nearly 50 percent drop in the number of high school students who smoked between 2006 and 2010. "While curbing underage smoking is a good thing,” Quinn said, "our detractors continue to use one-sided science to keep people from tanning even moderately. Their goal for such a bill would be to simply make it nearly impossible for us to do business.” He added that while under-18 bans have little effect upon most tanning salon owners, an under-21 ban would be a crippling blow to salons nationwide. "Many of us would go out of business,” Quinn added. He cited the Ohio House of Representatives passing of HB 144, which bans e-cigarette sales to anyone 18 and under, as proof of his claims. On December 6, 2013 the bill passed 66-25 and awaits approval in the state’s Senate.
A continued commitment to fighting under-18 tanning bills is the direction this industry needs to take, according to Quinn. "Yes, this is a very expensive and time consuming process,” he added, "but it’s an absolutely necessary one. If we don’t draw a line in the sand, it will be drawn for us and we won’t be happy with the results.” When state legislatures introduce an under-18 tanning ban, the industry’s response has been to hire lobbyists and have salon owners in that state make connections with their representatives to help stop such bills from passing. Quinn believes the industry must continue this practice. Quinn believes the industry must continue this practice. "I think it is a mistake to give up this fight,” he added, "because there’s too much riding on it. If the national associations can’t afford to fight these battles or aren’t willing to fight them, it will fall on salon owners in the affected states to make the decision whether or not to oppose these bills.”
Please Renew your ITA Membership for 2014
January marks the beginning of the ITA calendar and financial year. We send sincere thanks to all of you that stepped up in 2013 to support the ITA and invested in our industry. In addition to memberships, many contributed via donations and PAC contributions and also by encouraging others to join our "associates" program for those that do business with our industry. It all helps.
As we begin 2014, the battles are still in front of us. If you are a current member, again, we thank you for your support. Renew today! Please call 703 336-3632 if you have any questions.
Superior UV Technologies
(888) 526-7712 x77
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