Local tattoo artists react to governor’s proposed system changes

Local News

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Ohio is considering new laws for tattoo artists, requiring them to be state registered and pay an annual $250 fee.

One local artist said she is against these changes to the system.

“I don’t think it’s fair. What are they going to offer us except for telling people that we’re registered?” said Debbie Lenz.

Lenz has been drawing designs on people for 38 years, and she does two to 10 tattoos on a good day. She remembers when gloves weren’t even required back in the 80’s.

Places like Artistic Dermagraphics in Youngstown are registered with the county. Each artist is registered individually and inspections are done twice a year. 

The business wants to know if the state check would supercode that or be in addition to current procedures.

“We’re already being checked. We’re already being regulated. We have a registration. I don’t feel that it’s fair,” Lenz said.

Tattoo artists take a blood pathogen class. They also keep records of colors and needles that they use.

Local health departments enforce standards right now. The governor’s idea seems to be similar to ones that govern barbers and cosmetologists. 

Many tattoo artists were worried about the “kitchen wizard,” an artist who does tattoos from home and wouldn’t be covered by the law.

“Is it a health matter or police issue? Because they’re going against the law by doing it,” Lenz said.

If the governor’s plan goes through, one idea is to create a state database where people could check to see if the tattoo artist is registered. 

Tattoo artists said people should know that one form of verification already exists, letting people know that they follow health standards. 

“If they don’t have a registration from the county, you want to worry because they’ve not registered. They’ve never been inspected,” said Lenz.

The proposed law also applies to body piercers, but it would not include people who pierce ears with an ear-piercing gun.

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