From drugs to tanning, a flurry of activity in Ohio

By Maggie Thurber | for Ohio Watchdog

CONSENT: Two separate bills would require parents to sign consent forms for minor children – one for tanning, the other for certain prescription drugs.

It was a flurry of activity in the Ohio General Assembly these past two weeks as legislators tried to pass as many bills as possible before leaving on their summer break.

It’s campaigning season for the November election.

Bills ranging from a designation of Hernia Week to the mid-biennium budget review to making a portion of Interstate 75 over the Ohio River a toll bridge were sent to the governor. While the MBR measures get a lot of attention — and rightly so — there were a number of less-publicized items impacting Ohioans.

Along with a consent for treatment, a privacy rights statement and insurance forms, parents can now look forward to a special drug consent form when taking their kids to the doctor.

Thanks to Substitute House Bill 314, any time a minor is prescribed drugs containing opioids, the prescriber must obtain a parent’s or guardian’s signature on a separate consent form. The prescriber must also assess the minor’s mental health and substance abuse history, including whether the minor has ever suffered from a mental health or substance abuse disorder. The consent form must stay in the minor’s health record.

Medical emergencies are an exemption, but failure to obtain the consent form means the prescriber is subject to disciplinary action by various regulatory boards.

Doctor’s offices aren’t the only place for a new consent form. House Bill 131 which was sent to the Senate for consideration, imposes new restrictions for getting an artificial tan.

Under state law, which this bill repeals, the Board of Cosmetology was required to oversee rules requiring a minor to get permission from a parent or guardian before receiving tanning services. The new requirements are based on age:

  • 18 and older: Sign a consent form which is valid indefinitely
  • 16 to 17 years old: Consent form signed by the parent or guardian in the presence of the tanning salon operator. The consent is valid for 90 days and sets a limit of 45 visits during that 90-day period. Additionally the tanning time cannot exceed the exposure time set by the cosmetology board.
  • Under 16 years old: Consent form signed in the presence of the tanning salon operator for each visit, and the parent or guardian must be present during the tanning session.

And how will the tanning operator know just how old the client is?

The bill requires the board to establish procedures tanning facilities must follow to assure they are making a “reasonable effort” to determine the age. Anyone not following the provisions in the bill is subject to a $500 fine for a first offense and could lose their license upon further noncompliance.

The bill also gives the board authority to regulate spray-on tanning services and facilities that use visible light for cosmetic purposes.

In what can only be described as a real-life example of “The Weed Agency,” a fictional comic tale of a run-away federal department tasked with overseeing invasive species, the General Assembly sent Substitute Senate Bill 192 to the governor for signature.

The bill grants exclusive authority to the director to agriculture to regulate invasive plant species in Ohio. This includes the identification and establishing prohibited activities of such invasive species.

It defines invasive species as plants not native to Ohio whose introduction causes, or is likely to cause, economic or environmental harm to human health. It excludes cultivated plants grown as food or feed.

While the bill did not include any appropriations for the new exclusive authority, Ohioans might wonder if future requests for funding will follow.

Then there is Substitute House Bill 575, which establishes the Ohio Economic Council on Women to examine the economic concerns and needs of women in the state.

Among other things, the 15-member council is supposed to study employment policies, educational needs and opportunities, child care, property rights, health care, domestic relations and the effect of federal and state laws on women. It is supposed to advocate for women and establish a program to encourage women to serve on boards and commissions.

It is required to meet quarterly and issue a biennial report summarizing its findings, recommendations, and proposals. Council members will not be paid but will be reimbursed for travel and expenses. The bill contains a sunset provision dissolving the council after five years.

There was no mention of an Economic Council on Men.

Contact Maggie Thurberat maggie@ohiowatchdog.org

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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