Bill in Oklahoma to Legalize Tattooing Passes Committee

Article excerpt

It was a colorful crowd - literally - that burst into applause Monday as a legislative committee approved a bill to legalize tattooing in Oklahoma. Illustrations adorned arms, legs and other body parts of many of those who came to support Senate Bill 806, though lawmakers discussed the bill so long most of the visitors did not get the opportunity to speak.

I think it's great - it's about time, said Louis Hosino, a tattoo artist from Shawnee who said he is currently not practicing in deference to Oklahoma's law, though he had practiced tattooing in Oklahoma in years past. I feel it is a contradiction that permanent cosmetics is legal and the art of tattoo is not, Hosino told the committee.

The discussion and debate on SB 806, by Sen. Frank Shurden, D- Hanna, and carried in the House by state Rep. Al Lindley, D- Oklahoma City, extended past regular working hours, as members of the House Health and Human Services Committee considered eight amendments to the legislation, accepting six of the proposed changes.

One of several amendments proposed by state Rep. Thad Balkman, R- Norman, would change current law, which allows minors to receive body piercing if their parents or guardians consent to the practice and are present at the time of the piercing. Balkman's amendment would forbid anyone under the age of 18 to obtain a body piercing or tattoo, regardless of parental approval.

Another amendment by Balkman would require tattooing establishments to put up a $100,000 surety bond to cover any liability they might incur regarding hepatitis C infections. Balkman also amended the bill to lower the renewal fees for establishments that perform micro-pigmentation, often called permanent makeup.

Tattooing and piercing establishments would be forbidden to perform their services on someone who is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, due to an amendment by state Rep. Lisa Billy, R- Purcell, though the amendment did not include a standard to define impairment. Tattoo parlors would be prohibited from setting up shop within 1,000 feet of a church, school or playground, due to an amendment by state Rep. Ann Coody, R-Lawton.

Michael Crutcher, commissioner of the Oklahoma Department of Health, also spoke in favor of the legalizing tattooing in Oklahoma, noting that state regulation has helped to control hepatitis infections in the other 49 states. Oklahoma is now the only state in the America that forbids tattooing. …