Senate approves proposed new regulations for tattoo industry


LITTLE ROCK — Proposed new regulations for the tattoo industry in Arkansas would set the minimum age for someone to receive body art — ink or piercings — at 16 and would prohibit body art on people who appear to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Senate Bill 388, which passed the Senate 35-0 Thursday, would require identification for anyone 16 or 17 and permission from a parent or legal guardian, along with documentation.

It also includes new requirements and regulations for people teaching body art, including being licensed and working as an artist for at least five years.

The bill now goes to the House for consideration.

The sponsor, Sen. Missy Irvin, R-Mountain View, said the new regulations her bill proposes are endorsed by the regulations are endorsed by the Arkansas Body Modification Association, the state Department of Health and the Association of Professional Piercers.

“It’s a collaborative effort,” Irvin said in presenting the bill on the Senate floor.

She added that measure would create a safer industry in Arkansas by establishing easily enforceable laws against illegal underground tattooing and piercing, and by creating minimum age requirements for some body art procedures.

The bill would prohibit anyone under 18 from receiving body art on a nipple or genitalia unless authorized or prescribed by a physician specifically for repigmentation. Branding of anyone under 18 also would be prohibited.

Anyone convicted of performing body art on someone 16 or 17 illegally would be charged with a Class A misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.

SB 388 would allow the state Department of Health to collect a one-time $500 fee from any out-of-state artist to be licensed in Arkansas. Artists in the state currently pay an annual shop fee of $150 and $100 a year to maintain a license.

Artists also would be required to complete a blood-borne pathogens course from the the Occupational Safety and health Administration under the bill.

Performing body art would be prohibited on people inebriated or who appear to be incapacitated by alcohol or drugs, as well as people who show signs of recent intravenous drug use, on an area of the skin that has sun burn, open lesions, rashes or wounds.

Earlier this week, the Senate passed, 26-4, SB 387, also sponsored by Irvin, which would ban body art procedures where the skin is intentionally scarred or objects are inserted under the skin.