New Year, New Law For Tattoo Industry

By Rachel Slavik, WCCO-TV

— The New Year is also the start of a new law for the tattoo industry in Minnesota. Businesses and each tattoo artist must now be licensed with the State Health Department.

This past summer, the state sent out a packet, notifying businesses of the upcoming changes.

“There’s no excuse to wait for it. You knew it was coming, if you didn’t know it was coming, maybe keep a closer ear to your industry,” said Garrett Rautio, owner of Monster Ink.

Rautio welcomed the new rules, even though it meant he had to take a series of classes to get his business registered.

“I think it’s good for the industry,” he said. “The industry is now recognized as an industry.”

Rautio didn’t have to worry about the individual license, he already had that. But many artists around the state don’t, and they won’t for a few more days. The State Health department still has a backlog of applications to process.

“This time of the year is tax time. This is when all the big business comes through. You don’t want to miss out. This could be a make or break it deal for a lot of people,” said Rautio

In the past, some cities and counties did license the individuals and establishments. However, other jurisdictions licensed only the establishments. The vast majority of technicians throughout the state were not licensed.

In order to get a license, a body art technician must show proof of completing 200 hours of supervised work experience, they must be over the age of 18, and they must complete coursework on sterilization, disease transmission prevention, blood-borne pathogens and infection control.

The Health Department says it won’t take very long to process the applications that meet the requirements.

WCCO-TV’s Rachel Slavik Reports

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  • Sean Sr.

    This new law has its good points with consideration to disease control and such, but at the same time this law was pushed by the more established tattoo parlors, ACME, Monster, Universal, Twin Cities, etc., which all have taken into account all the money they have lost to the little guys and gals charging a more economic savvy price, so instead of paying $60 tp $100 for 5 letters, the little guys and gals charge less for a full sentence. So I say to all the little guys and gals ..get those “L’s” and give em hell…hit em in the pockets where it hurts the most!

  • carla

    why would anyone go to someone who isn’t licensed? I’m glad they have to take classes on disease control and blood borne pathogens. It’s serious business when you are dealing with someones’ blood.

  • KM

    Sean Sr, as much as I agree the little shops need to keep on doin’ what they’ve been dioin’ they will now need to charge more to cover their costs to be licensed and to pay the costs associated w/that. I understand the need to know about sanitary practices such as blood-borne pathogens, infection control and the like, but it is just another excuse for BIG GOV to get their noses into others’ affairs and to bring in different monies in these economic hard times.

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  • Jonathon

    I think it’s funny that most of the body art technicians in Minnesota have not been licensed by the Health Department yet, but are still tattooing as they will not be enforcing the law they passed because they are too busy processing the applications.

  • edward_oleander

    @KM – Do you really think BIG GOV will make a fortune off the artists? Do you really think they WANT to spend their time “getting their noses” all up in the industries business? Your view sounds suspiciously like the standard AM Talk-Radio rants.

    As a nurse, I’ve seen first hand what happens when an artist doesn’t follow good sterile technique or infection control practices. Would you want your daughter inked by just anyone? While many artist maintain good practices (it’s good business sense after all), there are still WAY too many mistakes made, some with tragic consequences. Today, many blood banks across the country will not take donations from people with ink. In this day and age, anyone who works in a setting where disease transfer is easy NEEDS to have certain consistent minimums met, and enforced. Government regulation is the best way to accomplish this, unless you have a better idea? This is no longer the Wild West, artists aren’t free-spirited modern day cowboys, and Caveat Emptor is not our National Motto. The population demands and deserves safety.

    Customers will continue to want ink. Young customers especially will base their choice of artist more on the quality of the art, or the cost, than on their assessment of the work environment. And most non-medically trained people do NOT have the ability to truly assess the risk posed by a particular shop or artist. No one can know everything, so we need to be able to trust those we do business with. Unbridled free-marketeering isn’t conducive to that trust.

    Thanks for reading,
    Ed, RN

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