Changes Proposed for Outdated Tattoo Ordinance - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

1/9/04

Changes Proposed for Outdated Tattoo Ordinance

Many of the guidelines set forth in Lubbock's current tattoo ordinance aren't even followed anymore and they say nothing about body piercing. That's why the health department wants to make some changes. Lubbock Environmental Health Manager, Bridget Faulkenberry, says, "We want to be more in line with the state ordinance."

Lubbock's ordinance currently states you must be 21 to get a tattoo. It's widely known that is not enforced. Under proposed changes, the age would be lowered to 18. Body piercing would also officially be allowed and regulated. Faulkenberry says, "We'll look at how they sanitize their equipment and the cleanliness of the operation."

Lubbock's tattoo ordinance hasn't been changed in over 20 years and local tattoo artists say it would be good for everyone involved. Alma Matthews, Owner of American Eagle Tattoo, says, "I think it's real forward thinking. That's commendable. The work they've done, it works to protect the public and still make it possible for us to operate our business." Matthews says the move is an important one toward protecting the public, when they don't always do the research needed to protect themselves. She explains, "Some people spend more time researching their hairdresser than their tattooist."

Another proposed change to Lubbock's current ordinance would shut down tattoo parlors if a violent crime or drug offense happens involving an employee or a patron. That prompted some concern amongst otherwise positive reaction. Matthew says, "I did have a little concern we were being singled out and the old stigma that tattoo shops are affiliated with unsavory characters, but I got clarification that was completely understandable to me. We're not being singled out, it's that way for all businesses."

There are further changes proposed by the health department, including:

  • surgical body modifications, such as tongue splitting, would not be allowed
  • more stringent sanitation and training requirements would be implemented
  • tattooing and piercing would not be allowed at temporary locations, such as fairs or concerts

All the changes would also apply to permanent make-up tattooing at beauty salons. The City Council will eventually have to approve any changes.

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