|Action||General Review 2017 | Tattoo and Body-Piercing|
|Comment Period||Ends 9/20/2019|
response to newly proposed tattoo legislation
I believe that I can speak for some, if not most professional tattooers and shop owners in virginia, in saying that I think these new proposed regulations are a step backwards.
Although it may not seem so to you, we are a group of motivated and driven individuals, who have worked our way through many an obstacle, to get where we are in our careers, and more than that, we are very self governing and self regulating.
The common sense rules of tattooing, technical and artistic advancements, universal precautions, and aseptic technique have been handed down for generations. We don’t need to be micromanaged, in the process of our process. We don’t need our lives and livelihood complicated with more rules and laws to follow. We don’t really need to know what the DPOR, DOLI, or the commonwealth of virginia thinks of what we do, or how we do. It’s the DPOR, DOLI, and the commonwealth of virginia that really needs to know our perspective on the way things are, or should be.
With all that said, I am sure that we all understand that there must be laws and rules and regulations to abide by, as nobody really wants for a lawless society. Nor are we looking for a situation in which we can do whatever we want to do, however we want to do it. As that would lead to chaos and anarchy, the compromise of public health and safety, and tattoo studios who are not operating properly, to getting away with unsafe standards of operation, and sub par quality tattooing (which is actually happening anyway). Without proper enforcement of DPOR regulations, and better communications with local health department and police, the rules and guidelines of our industry only apply to those who are correctly licensed...and that doesn’t do anyone any good.
What we need here is an actual middle ground, where the information exchanged between the DPOR and our elected upstanding professionals in the community, are validated and taken into real consideration. We want to work with you, we need to work with you, and I do believe that you want and need to work with us, so that we can land on compromise, everyone is satisfied, and the public remains safe...while our ways of being aren’t hampered, and our livelihoods aren’t affected.
Our concerns lie in all of the procedure that is required to obtain proper licensing, yet there are still people tattooing out of their houses, or in a shop where tattooers aren’t actually properly licensed. We also have issue with complicating the process to obtain a temporary tattooer license, instead of simplifying it. We have major concern that “tattoo schools” are not held to the same guidelines and expectations that mentors are. And finally, we’d really really like to have a set of forms that actually work online, and a customer service oriented staff at the DPOR call center, who are knowledgeable and helpful when we call...as opposed to sometimes rude, inconsiderate, and inconsistent in their answers as to what it is that we are supposed to do, in order to become legal licensed tattooers, stay current, or obtain temporary tattooer permits.
1...we all know of a handful of people tattooing out of their homes, yet nothing is done about it. This is an age old problem, as we have to be licensed, but there are so many people getting away with this, that we have to question why it is that we bother doing the right thing. Not only that, but, I’m sure we all know of many “professional” tattoo studios, operating with one or more people tattooing inside of them, who aren’t properly licensed. In fact, I know of one who had an “apprentice” for quite some time, where nobody in the shop was even a licensed tattooer.
2...the proposed regulation for a guest tattooer license and a convention tattooer license further complicates an already complicated process. We need one license, 2-4 weeks at a time, up to 3 or 4 times a year, where an out of state tattooer can go to as many shops or conventions as they please. Once they are licensed through the DPOR, there should be no need for an itinerary that shops need to sign off on (before submitting the application), just a list of places the tattooer is intending to go to...and then phone calls from a representative of the DPOR, to confirm that they will be where they say they’re going to be, when they are saying that they’re going to be there. Furthermore, all out of state certifications in first aid, cpr, and bbp should be accepted, regardless of whether or not they meet the same exact standards that we must abide by as residents of Virginia. There’s really no reason to split hairs on this issue, online training is just as good as in person training, and people shouldn’t be limited by what their home states require. Lastly on this point, nothing has been said about shortening the lead time it takes to process an out of state license application. We are looking for 2 weeks, instead of a minimum of 30 days.
3...Tattoo schools are something that most reputable tattooers and tattoo studios don’t agree with, but, we are resolved to an understanding that they exist, and will continue to operate. Many of us would never hire someone who was taught at a tattoo school, and that is our last line of defense. But, we are all in agreement that tattoo schools should be held to the same curriculum, guidelines, hours spent, and amount of students that one instructor should have. One teacher or mentor, a maximum of two students or apprentices each, 1500 documented hours, fair and balanced.
4...the DPOR website situation where forms aren’t available online has been in a state of disrepair for far too long. It’s nearly 2020, and the process of online applications and paying for things as such, is a globally streamlined operation. We should be able to find a form online easily, download it, print it out, fill it out, and email it back without any issue. Your email servers should be secure, so that we can send back credit card information without worry. Beyond that bare minimum, there should be an option to just fill the form out online, and pay for our licenses without emailing or snail mailing anything. Furthermore, license specialists should have consistent answers when people call to get information or apply for whatever license they need...there should be no confusion as to what an individual is supposed to do, depending on what time they call, or who they talk to.
Also, I suggest that everyone who has a valid tattooer, piercer, permanent cosmetics, or studio license get direct email notifications when proposed new legislation is going through its process. If we are licensed, you should have our email addresses, and it would just require a mass email to all of us, with links to what we need to know. I have to assume that not many are linked up to the online town hall site, so most don’t know what’s going on with the DPOR, despite our best efforts to keep everyone informed.
Lastly, I again officially request a specific board of tattooers, piercers, and permanent cosmetic tattooists. One person representing all three of us, among 11 cosmetologist, isn’t a fair and balanced way to take everyone’s everything into consideration, when creating new legislation. This request has nothing to do with representative Gilda and the job she is doing. Rather, there are 11 other people on that board that don’t have anything to do with tattooing, piercing, or permanent cosmetics. I would suggest that there be a board specific to us, with 3 or more representatives each for tattooing, piercing, permanent cosmetics, and even tattoo schools...so that we can all be heard, from our very different careers, and we can sort out regulations for all of us, that are fair, balanced, and informed. If that isn’t an option, then we need more representation on the board or barbers and cosmetology, so that at the very least, our concerns and requests aren’t being outweighed by the other 11 people, who aren’t in our field of expertise, and shouldn’t be governing us.
In closing, I do believe that the DPOR has improved a bit in the last two years, communications have improved some, and its greatly appreciated that you have taken the time to talk with us...using some of the information we have shared to better the way things are. We hope that you will continue to let our voices be heard, to find a balanced compromise on all of the regulations. We look forward to spending more time going over things with a fine tooth comb, to work out all of our differences, and land on a set of rules and regulations that take everything into consideration on all sides of the situations. I especially look forward to the next hurdle of sorting out the apprenticeship guidelines, and avoiding the involvement of DOLI.