House votes to regulate tattoo parlors

No one had stories of botched tattoos. No tales of a constituent who picked up hepatitis from a dirty needle. But then again, no legislator could quite explain how Connecticut never got around to regulating tattoos.

“I was actually shocked,” said Rep. Al Adinolfi, R-Cheshire.

It’s an oversight the House of Representatives moved to correct Thursday night, voting 122 to 13 to require that tattoo artists be licensed by the Department of Public Health.

The bill now goes to the Senate.

The legislation would require tattoo artists to take “a course on prevention of disease transmission and blood-borne pathogens” and to learn the craft as an apprentice.

The bill was sought by public health professionals, including Myra Rochow, a Quinnipiack Valley Health commissioners and a neighbor of House Speaker J. Brendan Sharkey, D-Hamden.

“Myra made a strong case including noting that tattoo artists similar to medical professionals use needles to pierce skin,” Sharkey said. “Public health is one of the top responsibilities of government, and with the growing popularity of tattoos we need to ensure it is as safe as possible.”

His staff said Connecticut was one of nine states that does not license tattoo artists.

Rep. Prasad Srinivasan, R-Glastonbury, who is a physician, called the regulatory effort overdue.

But Rep. Robert Sampson, R-Wolcott, wanted to know if there was a problem that led to the legislative solution.

“Is there some special motivation for this? Are there complaints filed?” Sampson asked.

No one was aware of any.

The law would require a $250 license, renewable every two years.