Lawmakers and artists reach compromise on extreme body art bill

LITTLE ROCK (KATV) - Arkansas lawmakers and body artists worked together{}Thursday to pass a unique bill that was once the center of much controversy.

"We were elated, it's exactly what we wanted," said Dustin Jackson, owner of Anchor Tattoo and Piercings in Bryant.

It was an unexpected outcome to a once dividing bill. The Body Art bill, which originally banned a procedure that scratches the skin to make a permanent design, was amended to regulate the practice instead.

"It's actually a really big deal worldwide," said Jackson.

Steve{}Joyner, who's helped write legislation for twenty six other states, says Arkansas is now setting the standard for the{}other fifty{}states, none of which currently have regulation regarding scarification.

"I think this is a big win for the state of Arkansas," said Joyner, who is also the former President of the Association of Professional Piercers. "Arkansas has brought itself{}out of{}those times and put itself on the map of being one of the states that have great standards."

It's not the kind of win bill sponsor, Senator Missy Irvin planned for though. She agreed to the compromise but she's now leaving it in the hands of the health department.

"I still think it's a bad idea," said Sen. Irvin. "We have assurances with them that they will be able to proceed and make sure that there are tight licensing requirements."

But Joyner says it's the best and safest way to go.

"This is going to be done maybe in underground settings," He said.{}"So it's better to regulate something and make it done safe than to do anything."

The bill cleared a house committee{}Thursday. It will be voted on{}the House floor sometime next week.

COMPLETE COVERAGELawmaker's bill calls for stricter law on extreme forms of body art (March 1)Ark. Senate votes to restrict body art procedures (March 5)Ark. House panel OKs tattoo restrictions (March 21)Lawmakers and artists reach compromise on extreme body art bill (March 21)