SF Lawmaker Pushes for Stricter Body Art Rules

Bill would tighten regulations on shops, practitioners

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    NEWSLETTERS

    AP
    Tattoo artists would have to follow stricter rules under Ma's proposal.

    Body artists in California might soon have to follow new rules if a San Francisco lawmaker gets her way.

    Democrat Assemblywoman Fiona Ma is asking Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to reconsider a bill that would set standards for the business of body art.

    The law would ban tattoos for anyone under 18 -- regardless of adult consent, require piercing and tattoo artists to individually register and show proof of hepatitis B vaccine and take courses including first aid and CPR.

    Under the new rules, body art shops would also have to register each year with police and be subject to random inspections from police and health officials. Violators would have to pay a fine of up to $1,000.

    It's not the first time Ma is asking the governor to consider the rules. But this time, she's recruited support from the industry itself. Her bill already has the support of the Association of Professional Piercers.

    Preventing infection is high on Ma's list. She deals with hepatitis B everyday as a patient, having contracted the illness from mother, the Chronicle reports.

    "This is one bill that I feel the governor should have signed, due to the tremendous health risks involved with dirty needles, all of the diseases and blood-borne illnesses that can be transferred," Ma told the paper. "There are practitioners that are not trained, and there are all these young people going in and getting tattoos. For me it's about protecting the next generation."