As the industry’s only tanning salon association, ASA continues to work on all issues impacting indoor tanning salons in Washington and all 50 states. ASA has also taken the lead on UV-related research development and advancement, industry PR and industry legal issues. The following is an overview of the current status of the ASA’s efforts involving the most important issues for our industry. More sensitive details regarding all of these issues and more will be shared behind closed doors at the ASA World Summit Conference and Open Board Meeting, Oct. 6-7 in Nashville.
For the past eight months, the ASA federal lobbying team has been focused on making contact with new agency staff and leadership appointed by the new administration. Most agencies are still in the process of staffing but so far the new hires have been encouraging and much more supportive of our industry, and small businesses in general, than what we experienced over the last eight years. In addition, ASA representatives are attending many out of town events with Members who we have identified as our champions. These events are the best opportunities to discuss our issues in depth and shore up relationships with their staff.
Tan Tax Repeal
Though the Senate voted down the attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act in early August, both the House and Senate leadership have shown their willingness to repeal this harmful tax, which could be included in upcoming Tax Reform legislation. ASA President Melinda Norton spoke with Senate Leader McConnell in early August about the harm the Tan Tax is continuing to do to our industry and urged him to include it in Tax Reform. Thanks to ASA representatives meeting with hundreds of House Members and Senators for the past several years, Washington now understands why it is so important to repeal this devastating tax.
Small Business Administration
One of the primary agencies ASA has attempted to work with over the years is the Small Business Administration. In the past, the SBA representatives ASA had met with explained that they were understaffed and underfunded and helping us overcome our issues would be difficult. Thanks to the new administration, and the appointment of SBA Administrator Linda McMahon, the SBA is fully engaged in helping ASA challenge the unfair attacks from various federal agencies. In fact, SBA leadership has invited ASA to provide testimony at a hearing on August 28 to present our issues to a panel of SBA leaders. ASA’s Joe Levy will be presenting detailed information regarding the negative ramifications of FDA’s proposed rules, the Tan Tax, and the CDC’s continued unscientific attacks against our industry. ASA’s federal lobbying team believe that the SBA’s newfound support – thanks to the new administration – should be one of the best opportunities we have developed to challenge the various government agencies attacking our industry.
Under-18 state regulatory efforts were minimal in 2016, partially due to the FDA’s proposed federal under-18 ban. However, activity increased significantly in 2017 with 14 state bills in play. We believe the increased activity is due to the federal under-18 ban regulations being frozen by the Trump administration Executive Order. We are also seeing a new threat by anti-tanning groups working to get indoor tanning under the jurisdiction of state departments that can increase oversight, inspections and fines for the industry. We have been successful so far in keeping these at bay but our opponents appear to not be satisfied with under-18 bans.
Nebraska Cancer Coalition Lawsuit
The Nebraska Cancer Coalition (NCC) lawsuit filed by ASA member tanning salons in Nebraska is still underway. It was reported that the lawsuit is scheduled to go to trial by summer of 2018. ASA members state that their objectives remain the same – to prove the industry’s scientifically supported position in a forum where the entire story will be heard. A legal victory would also impact the false statements made by various anti-tanning groups around the country.
Be sure to attend the ASA World Summit Conference and Open Board Meeting, Oct. 6-7 in Nashville to hear more about what’s going on with your industry.