RALEIGH — Youths under 18 would not be able to use tanning beds and health plans would have to pay for certain autism treatments under a regulatory bill approved by a House committee on Tuesday.
The provisions were added to a Senate bill that House lawmakers sliced and diced and turned into a pair of bills more to their liking one dealing with public health and safety, and the other with business and government.
The result is a pair of more focused bills, one 23 pages long and the other 14 pages, that are far less controversial. Several of the more contentious provisions will be studied rather than enacted. Those include:
• The N.C. Building Code Council would study procedures and policies for approving alternative materials, designs or methods in construction. The N.C. Homebuilders Association has been pushing against local government regulating these issues. The study would also look at speeding up the approval process.
• Whether the photographs of people who have been booked into county jails should remain public records or kept secret will be studied by the Administrative Office of the Courts and the Department of Public Safety. There are concerns about companies that charge a fee to remove booking mugs from their websites, and that the mug shots of people who are later found innocent are never updated to reflect that.
• The implications of requiring municipal and county elected officials to file statements of economic interest will be reviewed by the State Ethics Commission and the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Government.
Other provisions in the bills would:
• Make it illegal for anyone younger than 18 to use a commercial tanning bed. The current age limit is 13 years old. An amendment allowing youth younger than 18 to use the beds with written permission from a parent or guardian failed on a vote of 21-29.
• Repeal the procedure by which a single property owner can delay the process by objecting to zoning changes.
• Require health benefit plans to provide coverage for the screening, diagnosing and treatment of autism for those 23 years old or younger.
• Create a state board to regulate behavior analysts.
• Allow a restaurant with natural spring water on its property to serve it to patrons without having to install a disinfection device or meet any requirements except the federal Safe Drinking Water Act.
The new bills still have to face votes in the full House and then return to the Senate in what could be the waning days of the short session.