The American Suntanning Association’s mission to elevate intelligent discussion about UV exposure is carried out through hundreds of meetings in Washington D.C. and state capitols all over the country. In fact, ASA has effectively lobbied issues in 37 state capitols since 2013 – including 14 states in 2017 alone.
Directing that effort for ASA is frequent flier Joseph Levy, who spends most of the first half of each year criss-crossing the country representing ASA members in state capitol buildings nationwide. Including working with our Canadian partners, Levy has flown to 45 capitols in his efforts to educate legislators about the nuances of sun care and our market’s scientifically supported position.
It’s a large task. Our opposition is well funded and creative in spinning the issue. Sometimes we’ve been able to use that against them – their over-the-top characterization of sunlight being like tobacco or arsenic often backfires, opening the door for our reasonable position that sunburn prevention – not sun-avoidance – should be at the heart of public policy.
In state capitols, the issue is usually whether or not minors under age 18 should be able to use sunbeds in a salon. ASA used science to help defeat under-18 legislation in Arkansas, Arizona, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Montana and New Mexico this year, with issues in Maine and New York still pending. West Virginia and Oklahoma both passed under-18 bills this year in rule-bending last-minute political moves as those state’s legislative sessions adjourned. The only way our opponents were successful thus far this year was to go nuclear and bend the rules.
One issue ASA faced and tackled everywhere it arose this year was the development of new state regulatory programs to add redundant and expensive oversight to our market. Legislators in California, Nevada and New Mexico introduced bills in 2017 calling for states to develop extensive regulatory programs for operators of indoor tanning salons. In each case, ASA constructively argued that the legislation would saddle state health departments with unfunded mandates and that the industry has better ways to accomplish what should be the goals of these programs.
We were 3-0 in defeating those efforts this year.
Want to know what’s going on in your state, what ASA is doing and how you can help? Come to the ASA-Nashville Oct. 6-7 to hear first hand and talk with Levy. Visit www.AmericanSuntanning.org/conference/ for details or call ASA at 855-879-7678 to register today.