The Safe Body Art Act passed the California Senate with a 29-4 vote yesterday afternoon. The bill would create new regulations for tattoo artists and body piercers. The legislation will be voted on again in the assembly where it already passed once. It will then go to Governor Schwarzenegger who vetoed a similar bill last year.
The legislation was introduced by Assemblywoman Fiona Ma (D-San Francisco). Currently, state law only requires piercing and tattoo shops to register with their county, obtain a copy of local regulations, and pay a $25 fee.
If passed, the bill would require shops to pay a fee set at the local level and register annually with a law enforcement agency. Individual piercers and tattoo artists would also have to register and show proof of first aid and CPR training, a hepatitis B vaccine, and completion of a blood-borne pathogen training program. They would be required to post proof of their registration at work. Police and health officials would be allowed to randomly inspect shops and suspect their permit if violations are found. Those businesses found in violation would face a hearing process and fines of up to $1,000.
The new law would also require clients to sign a consent form that provides information on proper care for the piercing or tattoo as well as provide their medical history. Businesses would have to keep this information confidential. This bill would also regulate the performance of body art in vehicles, temporary booths, and at body art events.
Minors would be prohibited from receiving tattoos, permanent cosmetics, genital piercings, and branding, regardless of parental consent. Permanent cosmetics to a minor’s nipples would require a doctor’s note and parental consent. Minors could still receive piercings with the consent of their parent or guardian however businesses would have the right to refuse them.
Ear piercing done with a single-use, presterilized stud or needle by a mechanical device (piercing guns) would be exempt from the definition of body art. These practitioners would still have to register annually, face specified regulations, and show proof of various trainings.
The bill is supported by The Association of Professional Piercers, individual tattoo artists and environmental health officials, such as the California Conference of Directors of Environmental Health.
Among the supporters is our own local piercing and tattoo shop owner, Paul Stoll, of Body Manipulations in the Mission District. He told the Chronicle that the lack of stringent rules makes it difficult for people who want to do things right. The law would help level the playing field by stopping other businesses from cutting corners.