On Oct. 9, Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law the Safe Body Art Act of 2011 (AB300), which tightens up regulations for body art facilities by requiring practitioners who apply tattoos, body piercings, permanent makeup and even branding to register annually with their counties or cities.
The proposed San Bernardino County ordinance would be consistent with the new state law and would require practitioners at the county's 91 body art establishments to undergo blood-borne pathogen training, said Corwin Porter, division chief for the county Department of Public Health.
Specialized training in blood-borne pathogens is to help deter the spread of viruses and infections including hepatits, HIV, and staph. In addition, body art practitioners, under the new law, are required to wear latex gloves when applying tattoos, permanent makeup and brands or doing body piercings, Porter said.
The state law goes into effect on July 1.
Practitioners see the good and bad in more government regulation.
"The pros is that it'll hopefully shut down a lot of these guys that are tattooing out of their house or garage and spreading around a bunch of viruses and staph infections," said Eric Olguin, 33, a tattoo artist who works at Tattoo Revolution in Redlands.
The downside, Olguin said, is that more government regulation creates more legwork and adds additional expenses, which could make it harder for some businesses just starting out to get off the ground.
The proposed ordinance is expected to generate roughly $55,000 in annual revenue in its first year.
Body art businesses will also be required to renew their permits annually and to adhere to stringent sanitation requirements.
Though such facilities are currently required to obtain proper permits and maintain certain degrees of cleanliness in order to operate, regulations, officials believe, have been insufficient, Porter said.
"There was no real teeth in them," Porter said of existing laws. He said businesses will now be required to display their permits on the walls or in the windows of their establishments so they are clearly visible to patrons.
The Public Health Department is still working on a fee and fine schedule, which will be discussed at a future Board of Supervsiors meeting, Porter said.
Similar rules will apply to those wanting to operate mobile body art facilities or provide their services at large events such as fairs or conventions, Porter said.
The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors meets at 10 a.m. Tuesday in Covington Chambers, on the first floor of the San Bernardino County Government Center located at 385 N. Arrowhead Ave., in San Bernardino.