State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Katie Meyer covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.
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Tattoo parlor regulations head to state Senate

Written by Mary Wilson, Former Capitol Bureau Chief | May 8, 2014 8:03 PM

Photo by Mary Wilson / witf

In Pennsylvania, the tattoo art industry isn't regulated, leading to a proliferation of artists that some derisively refer to as scratchers.

State House lawmakers have voted for new controls on the industry. Tattoo artists, for their subversive rap, tend to be supportive.

"I think it's a great idea because they'll cut down on the home tattoers -- stuff that we have to fix from people who are doing it at home and messing people up," said Steve Junkins, hunched over an arm at Drop of Ink Tattoo in Mechanicsburg. "I just think it's a great idea." He was filling in a hibiscus flower for 24-year-old customer Erin Taggart.

"He's been doing my tattoos since I was 17," Taggart said.

On the wall next to Junkins' chair was a certificate for completing Bloodborne Pathogen Training. It's not required in Pennsylvania, but it would be under the plan passed by the House this week. The proposed controls also include licensing for each tattoo shop and random inspections by the state. Junkins said it would cut down on the tattoos he has to fix from amateur artists.

"We do a lot of cover-ups," Junkins said.

Republican senators have no plan yet to advance the measure in their chamber.

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