State tattoo regulations could change - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

State tattoo regulations could change


Dubuque (KWWL) -- It could soon become a little harder and a lot more expensive to join the tattooing business in Iowa. The Iowa department of public health wants to more than double the fees, require more education and ban tattooing in private homes or by minors.

The laws haven't changed in Iowa since 1989, and many artists say increasing regulation could help increase the integrity of licensed tattoo shops. But, some artists disagree with changing certain things and say changing regulations wouldn't really change much.

Zach Scott has been tattooing for eight years and now works at Born to Adorn tattoo and piercing. He says there's surprisingly little regulation of his industry.

"The inspection's pretty thorough, but after the inspection's done, there really isn't too much else at all that they regulate," Scott said.

He says requiring education on first aid and infections makes a lot of sense.

"It's definitely a must. There really isn't anything about it. So, it'd be definitely something the industry could regulate more about: How to take care of it and what to look for in case of an infection," Scott said.

Scott also says outlawing at-home tattoos is ideal, but he says regulating age goes too far.

"I don't like that at all. I started out before I was 18, and we definitely need younger artists coming in right out of high school that can draw real good. Get them a career right away," Scott said.

He does think more rules are needed for licensing. Right now, all it takes is an application and a check.

"I think apprenticeships should be regulated a little bit more than what they are. Right now, even a three year old could tattoo legally if they wanted to," Scott said.

While new regulations may be difficult to regulate, tattoo artists say it's things serious shops should already do.

"People will look at it better, but I mean, that's all it is. It's just another step you're going to have to go to do it. It's not going to change anything, I don't think. It's just going to make people feel better about it," Seth Hines said.

As for the rise in costs, artists we talked to say the fees aren't very high as it is, only about $40 annually in state fees and $250 for an initial inspection.

Some artists say keeping tattooing legal helps keep tattooing from being underground and unsafe. Recent changes to Dubuque's city ordinance allowed many tattoo shops to open up for the first time last August.

Online Reporter:  Jamie Grey

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