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Light shed on common appeals

Published: Sat, June 22, 2013 @ 12:00 a.m.

There are common arguments you will hear from opponents of law changes, regardless the subject.

Advocates for various industries and causes have them down pat, regardless of whether legislation makes common sense or seems reasonable to the general populace.

Jobs will be lost. Families will suffer. People will be hurt or potentially meet untimely ends. Hard-fought rights will be obliterated. Tax rates will be hiked. There will be slippery slopes and unintended consequences.

Spend some time at the Statehouse and you’ll hear those types of comments on all sorts of topics, from smoking bans and strip-club limitations to puppy mill regulations and skill games and sweepstakes- parlor prohibitions.

The better organized and funded the advocacy group, the louder the propositions of disaster.

This was apparent last week while sitting through testimony on bills before the Ohio House’s health committee, which had scheduled sponsor testimony on a controversial abortion ultrasound bill. A bunch of reporters waited through a couple of hours of testimony on other subjects before the hot-button issue of the day made its appearance.


The largest portion of the session focused on tanning beds.

Lawmakers, concerned about skin cancer and the health consequences of unfettered faux-sun bathing, have proposed a ban on anyone younger than 18 using tanning-salon services, absent a doctor’s prescription. Violators could face permit revocations or fines.

Tanning businesses, understandably, are concerned about the legislation, and they pulled out the stops in their testimony before lawmakers last week, making many of the aforementioned arguments.

Several moms with kids who tan were not happy that lawmakers want to usurp parental control.

“This proposed bill would take away my parental rights,” wrote one.

Salon owners said the bill would cut 10 to 15 percent or more from their profits.


And several people, including the head of the American Suntanning Association, said banning teen salon use would push youngsters to tan in secret, without appropriate supervision or advice that trained business owners and employees provide.

“This legislation will send under-18 tanners underground, and it will cause border towns outside of Ohio to see more patrons under 18,” on opponent wrote.

Not to belittle the people who come down to the Statehouse to voice their opinion about proposed law changes. More Ohioans should be doing that. And the folks who spoke during last week’s health committee hearing effectively offered their perspective on the matter.

It’s just interesting that so many debates on so many different issues, controversial or not, end up including so many of the same arguments.

Whether they actually hold water is another matter.

Marc Kovac is the Dix Capital Bureau Chief. Email him at mkovac@dixcom.com or on Twitter at OhioCapitalBlog.

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