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Montana tattoo artists weigh in on proposed law changes

By Lauren Maschmedt, KTVM Anchor, lmaschmedt@ktvm.com
Published On: Dec 05 2012 08:28:25 AM MST
Updated On: Dec 10 2012 07:25:41 PM MST
BOZEMAN, Mont. -

Kimri Rosales owns Element Tattoo. She's been a tattoo artist for 15 years.

"Everything is single use, sterilized, pre-packaged" she said, about her equipment.

Rosales said she goes above and beyond what laws require for cleanliness.

But now, she says, state law is going above and beyond with new proposed regulations.

"The state and the county have our backs, to make sure that the people are totally safe" she said.

The new regulations would require things like improved sterilization, and completion of training before employees can work.

Gallatin County has its own laws when it comes to body art.

"Anything that changes with the state rules- such as these improvements- will automatically change in Gallatin County" said Sean Hill with the Gallatin City-County Health Department.

He said state law trumps county law.  But, he added, they can make any new restrictions even tighter.

Hill said if they do, they'll work with shops like Element before doing so.

"Microdermals are a single-point piercing" Rosales said, holding up tiny little metal pieces.

One aspect Rosales is really excited about- bringing back microdermal anchors. Piercing shops used to offer those, before state law made it illegal.

"It's advertisement, its money in our pockets and it's what people want" Rosales said.

She said it'll boost business. But ultimately, she said, this business is about safety. And she's glad the state wants to hold shops to a higher standard.

"Everything from stars on wrists, to back pieces- each one of those tattoos is a big deal to that person" she said. "I'm making sure that they're safe. I'm safe, they're safe."

Public comment for the proposed law changes closed on December 6th. The state Department of Health and Human Services will respond to each comment, and make any necessary changes.

From there, the Secretary of State will publish the final draft into law.