Arkansas Body Art Bill Clarified
08:59 AM
Arkansas body art bill.jpg
Last week, social media was buzzing with posts about the Arkansas State Senate Bill that would "ban certain tattoos, which it characterized as 'untraditional'."  And like so many things you read on social media, the posts were riddled with errors and drama. We even had a heated discussion about it on our N+S Facebook group page, with some interesting comments from members that went beyond discussion of the supposed bill but about regulation of our industry in general.

In that group discussion, Erik Sprague aka The Lizardman posted a link to, which offered the correct and insider info of how the Arkansas Body Modification Association worked with legislators to remove provisions of a proposed bill that would ban certain types of body art in favor of regulation -- regulation that was helped shaped by body modification practitioners.

Today, the news media, well, at least MSNBC, caught on and set out to correct the errors floating around the discussion of Arkansas' body art law. Here's a bit from the article:

At issue is Arkansas Senate Bill 387 which both chambers of the Arkansas state legislature actually passed in late March of this year. The bill was then signed by the governor. Rather than banning tattoos or cracking down on the body art industry-as many headlines have suggested-the bipartisan legislation actually legally redefines the term body art in Arkansas to add the practice of scarification-the scratching, etching or cutting of the skin to produce a design.

Rather than a seeing the bill as a crackdown, most body artists in the state are pleased with the legislation.

"We came away really happy," piercing and scarification artist Misty Forsberg told MSNBC. Forsberg, who works for Southtown Tattoo & Body Piercing in Fort Smith, Arkansas, was one of several in her industry working with state legislators to update the state's laws. The effort was "a little bit of a bumpy ride at first," she said.

An earlier version of the bill banned Arkansas's licensed body artists from performing scarification, but state legislators and the industry reached a compromise with the Arkansas Department of Health and that language was removed from the bill.

Read more here.

At least now the debate can center around people's thoughts on regulated versus unregulated aspects of our industry rather than hysteria and mistruths.

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