Governments' Lighter Side

Bad news for Arkansas’ body artists

Last summer, the Arkansas Senate passed a bill outlawing types of body art deemed “non-traditional” – particularly scarification and dermal implants (we wouldn’t recommend Googling those terms if you’re squeamish). The regulation has caused legions of colorful characters to rise up against what they see as unacceptable levels of government intrusion on freedom of expression.

Intellihub reports that after an outpouring of vocal opposition, the bill was killed in a House vote. However, many are still fearful that "Big Brother" may make emblazoning “Mom” on your bicep a thing of the past. PolicyMic reports the House has begun to back a compromise measure that could hit the Governor’s desk at any time.

To be clear, the bill would only prohibit tattoo parlors and other vendors from performing prohibited acts of body modification. The bill isn't "grandfathered" (meaning you won’t get thrown in jail for the gnarly battleship on your arm you got during your time in the Navy). Intellihub suggests the law would add to the list of other regulations on tattoo parlors and other body modification vendors in the state. But some worry the fact the legislation has made it this far is an example of a government oversetpping its bounds.

According to Intellihub: “It is very alarming that something like this is even being considered and taken seriously, and even more alarming that it passed by a landslide vote.  Regardless of health recommendations and popular opinion, an individual has the right to do whatever they wish with their body so long as they aren’t hurting anyone else.” 

PolicyMic expressed the same sentiments, asking who gets to define what is considered “non-traditional.” The compromise measure only directly prohibits dermal implants, but the wording surrounding tattoos is ambiguous enough that it could be interpreted broadly.

So gather ye tattoos while ye may, Arkansawyers. You may not be able to down the line.


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What's Governments' Lighter Side?

It is an irreverent take on local and state government news.


Derek Prall

Derek Prall is a professional journalist who has held numerous positions with a variety of print and online publications including The Public Manager magazine and the New Jersey Herald. He is a 2008...
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