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Pennsylvania House of Representatives
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House of Representatives
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: September 16, 2021 01:34 PM
From: Representative Rosemary M. Brown
To: All House members
Subject: Tattoo Practice Act
Shortly I will be introducing legislation to create the Tattoo Practice Act within the Department of Health. The purpose of this legislation is to require the licensure or registration of tattoo artists, guest tattoo artists, tattoo establishments and temporary establishments.
For background, the owner of a tattoo establishment approached me a few years ago inquiring why Pennsylvania did not license or inspect this industry.  I have to admit, I too was surprised to find out that there was no oversight since a tattoo procedure breaks and opens the skin with needles, creating a prime environment for blood-borne pathogen infections.  If sanitary measures are not followed, the opportunity for a serious infection are possible.  This owner had an establishment both in New Jersey and Pennsylvania and noted the strong differences for consumer protections as well as the high standards that helped create a respected and professional industry for his career.  His frustrations with fixing bad tattoos, seeing infections and hearing of tattooing occurring in unsanitary garages has confirmed why my legislation is necessary.
As a result, I began my research and work on building licensing with a balance.  With over 40 percent of Americans having at least one tattoo, the goal of this legislation is to strengthen consumer protection and minimize the chance of a serious blood borne pathogen or communicable disease (I.e.: Hepatitis, HIV, Staph (which can lead to Sepsis etc.)  After working on this for several years and introducing several drafts, one which was voted on by the full House, I have found that the Florida model has one of the most straightforward statutes where they license and require sanitation without being burdensome or too costly to the tattoo artists and industry.
My legislation will require a tattoo establishment to be licensed and registered with the Department of Health (DOH) and pay an annual fee that is not to exceed $250.  These establishments would be inspected upon the initial opening and then the DOH would be responsible for randomly inspecting 20 percent of the Commonwealth’s tattoo establishments yearly.  The tattoo establishment shall display an active license visible to the public and ensure that each tattoo artist or guest tattoo artist meets all applicable requirements established by the DOH.  In addition, they must also contain sanitary conditions and comply with all state and local health laws, regulations and ordinances.
The individual tattoo artist would also be licensed and pay a yearly fee not to exceed $150.  The applicant must include the address of each establishment where they perform tattoo work and submit proof that they have completed an education course approved by the department on blood borne pathogen and communicable diseases.
Additionally, there will also be a Temporary Establishment License and a Guest Tattoo Artist License that will be offered for conventions, temporary locations etc. for a limited time frame of 14 days where the same provisions must be met.
As you may know, the tattooing of children under the age of 18 is still prohibited unless a parent or guardian gives their consent. It is important to note that my legislation does not change what is currently enacted in law.
Lastly, this legislation will also address the growing trend of permanent makeup allowing for licensure, sanitary provisions and business growth.
Please join me in co-sponsoring this consumer protection legislation for tattoo establishments, tattoo artists and customers.  These safeguards will assist in protecting public health, ensuring educational requirements are met for these services and building the professionalism of an industry.

Introduced as HB1975