Senator Pat Jones bill to restrict tanning bed usage passes Senate Committee

SALT LAKE CITY – A bill that would prohibit anyone under the age of 13 from using tanning bed passed out out of the Senate Health and Human Services committee today.  The bill would also require anyone from the age of 14-18 who uses a tanning bed  to have a  parent accompany to them to the tanning facility.

“This legislation is designed to reduce deaths from melanoma. Utah ranks #1 in deaths from melanoma… we have the highest in the nation for melanoma cases.  We know that 23% of Utah females, grades 10 through 12, our teenagers, are tanning at least once a year. About 5% of them are tanning more than 40 times a year,” said Senator Pat Jones–D, Holladay, the bill’s sponsor.

Senator Jones went on to explain that indoor tanning beds work by shining ultraviolet, UV radiation on to the skin.  UV radiation damages our DNA, and that is what causes skin to go darker.

“This is more dangerous than the midday sun.  It’s more intense and a larger scope and percentage of the skin is exposed to the radiation,” she said.

The World Health Organization’s International Agency Institute for Research on Cancer has classified tanning beds as human carcinogens. They have recommended that no one under the age of 18 years of age use a tanning bed.

The bill now goes to the Senate floor for debate.

Senator, teachers ask for parent involvement in education

From KSL
by Molly Farmer

SALT LAKE CITY — When Liz Holloran asks one boy in her classroom why he does so well on tests, or why he’s so responsible at studying and homework, she always gets the same answer: “My Mom.”

 

Holloran, a fifth grade honors teacher at Westland Elementary, sees first-hand how important parental involvement is in producing successful children — a topic one Utah senator is planning to take on during the 2012 Legislative session.

 

Parents and communities — not just schools and teachers — have a responsibility to educate children, according to Sen. Pat Jones, D-Holladay. The assistant minority whip is drafting a resolution that would encourage parental engagement in hopes of highlighting her belief that it takes a community to truly educate a child.

 

“One of the common things that I hear (from teachers) is parents really are not taking the responsibility that they should be taking,” Jones said. “We need to engage parents and the community in getting them involved.”

That includes adequately preparing students for kindergarten, helping them with homework, reading aloud to them, volunteering in the classroom and more. She said her resolution is based in part on studies that show schools with active Parent Teacher Associations have higher student achievement than those who don’t.

 

Margaret Wahlstrom, spokeswoman for the Utah PTA, said her organization definitely supports the message of the resolution, but has not taken a formal position since it isn’t completed and filed.

 

“If the whole family is committed to the education of the children, there are beacoup studies that show students are more successful,” Wahlstrom said. “It’s just a win for everybody. … It is a no-brainer.”

 

Holloran said parents, regardless of their work schedule, would benefit from knowing the positive impact they have by following through with their children at home.

 

“I get to teach those kids,” she said. “When they are inspired and when they are motivated … I’m a teacher now, I’m not a disciplinarian.”

 

Jones said it troubles her that so often schools and teachers are maligned when students fail, when parents shirk their responsibility at home while “letting the schools pick up the pieces.”

 

Jones said she understands the challenges parents face, especially since many work long hours, or have long commutes, leaving little time to spend with their children. In those situations, Jones said community members need to step in to help.

 

“(It’s about) extending their arms to other kids that might not have that parental support,” she said.

 

Teachers have to fulfill tertiary roles as stand-in school nurses or counselors in addition to providing instruction and need all the support they can get, she said.

 

Kory Holdaway, government affairs director at the Utah Education Association, said Jones’ effort is something teachers will get behind.

 

“When we have the number of students that are being put into classrooms as we do… it just stands to reason that the more support that we can offer in the classroom the better services we can provide,” Holdaway said.

 

Beyond being attentive at home, Holdaway said parent volunteers who help out in the classroom regularly mean a lot to teachers, who have taken on more responsibilities in the last 20 years. He said he’d like to see the number of parents who volunteer in secondary schools match the number who spend time in earlier years.

 

“There’s a good part of that that goes on in elementary schools but it begins to diminish when we get into junior high and high school,” he said. “I think we need to figure out a way to keep those parents engaged.”

 

Holloran said she’s seen how successful children can be when parents and teachers work together.

 

“You do need that parent piece,” she said. “It’s very difficult to legislate parenthood, though. People have to know for themselves.”

Email:mfarmer@ksl.com

 

Dental Health Care for Children of Working Families

Senator Pat JonesThis past legislative session, Senator Pat Jones sponsored SCR 4, Dental Health Care Concurrent Resolution.  In a ceremony earlier this week, Governor Gary R. Herbert signed the resolution in the company of Senator Jones, Scott Ideson, president of Regence BlueCross BlueShield, and a young couple whose four children have received dental care via the Regence Caring Foundation for Children.

This concurrent resolution of the Legislature and the Governor expresses support for the efforts of the Regence Caring Foundation for Children to provide dental care to children from low-income families who earn too much to qualify for public assistance.  The Regence Caring Foundation for Children began in 1992, and since then, has provided more than 27,000 children with free oral and medical care and has received donations of more than $5.9 million in cash and in-kind services to the Foundation.

Studies show that good dental health and overall general health are inseparable.  Poor dental care leaves children susceptible to infection and disease that affects their ability to sleep, study, and play.  Serious dental disorders can negatively affect self-image and potentially lead to kidney, liver, and cardiovascular diseases and diabetes.

The Regence Caring Foundation for Children’s comprehensive dental plan includes exams, x-rays, fillings, root canals, crowns, and oral surgeries.  Workshops are also conducted to educate parents and children on oral hygiene techniques and good eating habits.

The Foundation donates ALL its administrative duties, allowing 100% of fundraising proceeds to be used for free dental services to children.  Senator Jones thanks her colleagues in the Legislature and the Governor for recognizing the noble efforts of the Regence Caring Foundation for Children.

Governor Herbert Signs SCR 4

Girl Scout Award for Senator Jones

Today was Girl Scout Cookie Day on the Hill.  Senator Gene Davis introduced the Girl Scouts visiting the Senate Chamber.  The group presented each senator with a box of Girl Scout Cookies.  If senators had a cookie preference, the girls quickly accommodated their requests.

Senator Pat JonesSenator Davis also announced that Senator Pat Jones will be honored by the Girl Scouts next month.  In recognition of Senator Jones’ outstanding service and leadership, she will be honored with the 2010 Girl Scouts of Utah Distinguished Alumnae Award.  The award will be presented to Senator Jones at the Girl Scouts’ International Women’s Day Celebration March 4, 2010, at the Jewish Community Center.

Senator Jones has made incredible contributions to her community through her professional and volunteer endeavors and exhibits the Girl Scout Promise and Law in her daily life.  She is honest and fair, considerate and caring, courageous and strong, and makes the world a better place.

Senator Karen Morgan and Senator Karen Mayne are former Girl Scouts, too.  Senator Karen Morgan is a previous recipient of the Girl Scouts of Utah Distinguished Alumnae Award.

Several of our visiting Girl Scouts were from Cottonwood Heights (Senator Morgan’s senate district) and one was from Kearns (Senator Karen Mayne’s senate district).

Congratulations, Senator Jones.

Senators Morgan and Mayne with Girl Scouts
Senators Mayne and Morgan with Girl Scouts

Senator Davis with Girl Scouts
Senator Davis with Girl Scouts

Girl Scouts in Chamber