TOPEKA — Sarah Madden said her 12-year-old son, Peyton, lives with a skin condition known as Xeroderma Pigmentosum (XP). He was diagnosed at three years old when he developed his first skin cancer.
“You can’t tell by looking at him that his entire right eye has been reconstructed because of that skin cancer. Since then, he has lived in a 100% UV free environment,” said Madden.
On Monday, Feb. 5, the House Transportation Committee heard a bill that would help protect Peyton and others by amending the Kansas window film legislation to allow tinting on vehicles that do not meet the current requirements.
Under the bill, House Bill 2087, if the vehicle’s driver or occupant has a signed statement from a licensed optometrist saying window tinting is necessary to protect the driver or occupant’s health they don’t have to fully comply with current legislation.
In this bill, vehicles with window tinting would have to meet federal motor safety standards and the material of the tint must have visible light transmittance of at least 88 percent. The bill also requires that tinted windows must not be torn or bubbled, and windows must strengthen the glass’s ability to block ultraviolet A and B rays.
If enacted, the bill would be effective July 1, 2019.
Rep. Mark Schreiber (R-60th) introduced the bill to the committee on behalf of the Madden family, who traveled to the meeting from El Dorado to give their testimonies in favor of the bill.
According to the XP Family Support Group website, XP is a rare genetic disease where an individual’s DNA does not have the ability to repair damage from ultraviolet light. As a result, Peyton is one of thousands of Kansans who are extremely sensitive to the damaging effects of the sun and other UV radiation.
During his testimony, Peyton explained how he has to cover up his skin before going out into the sunlight.
“Here’s what I wear when I go outside in the daytime, even when it’s 105 degrees in Kansas: my jacket, gloves, glasses, and a special UV hat that my mom makes for me,” Peyton said while displaying the items.
Even when he is playing outside with his friends, Peyton said it was difficult to hear others and be heard because of his hat. The hat is made of cloth that covers his neck and a UV safe plastic to protect his face.
Madden said that Peyton would have to start driving in a few years, but that under current Kansas law, car windshields cannot be properly filmed to make it safe for Peyton. But thanks to advanced technology, clear window film that can block 99.9% of UV rays without reducing visibility to drivers is now available, said Madden.
“As the parent of a child with a rare disease, this isn’t the path you would plan for your child, but it is the path that God has provided us,” Madden said. “We want to give him the same quality of life that you’re able to give to your children.”
There were no opponents to the bill.
The bill’s fiscal note reported that “a fiscal effect cannot be estimated because the potential reduction in offenders is unknown.”
According to the Office of Judicial Administration, it is possible that HB 2087 could decrease expenses because there would be less crimes involving installations of light screening material. Therefore, fewer offenders would be supervised by court services officers. However, the Correctional Supervision Fund and the State General Fund could see a decrease in revenues if there are fewer offenders that would pay the supervision fee.
When asked by Rep. Barbara Ballard (D-44th) to give his best appeal, Peyton said, “If you don’t [pass HB2087], I will still be able to drive, it’d just be harder for me and I’d have to wear my hat while driving. It would also help a bunch of other people who need it.”
There is no further discussion scheduled for HB 2087. Schreiber anticipates that the committee will revisit the bill in two or three weeks.
Angel Tran is a University of Kansas senior from Wichita majoring in journalism