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New Law Regulation Tattoo and Body Art Establishments By Rachel Carlson, LMC Staff Attorney, Summary of the New Law

Beginning July 1, 2010 the State of Minnesota will step into the realm of regulating body art – which includes tattooing and body piercing, scarification and body modification such as tongue bifurcation (herein after referred to collectively as “body art”). See MN Laws 2010 Chapter 317 (a link may be found at the end of this entry).

The state will offer two types of licensure – licenses for establishments where body art is conducted and licenses for persons performing body art procedures in these establishments. To do this type of work everyone must be licensed - without exception - across the state.

How the New Law Effects Cities

Cities that previously regulated body art establishments may continue to do so – if their local ordinances are as strict as the state requirements. It should be noted that establishments in cities with local ordinances will not need to obtain the new state license.

Cities may not continue to license persons practicing body art. These practitioners must now be licensed exclusively by the state.

Cities may continue to enforce zoning, building and construction requirements, nuisance control and commercial licensing of businesses in general without interruption against body art establishments.

How Should Cities Respond to the New Law?

The new law means that city councils will probably have to spend some time thinking about tattoos, piercings and tongue bifurcation. Maybe that isn’t exactly a happy thought.

All body art practitioners and establishments will need to obtain a new state license by January 1, 2011. If they fail to obtain a license, they may no longer legally perform their services in the State of Minnesota. They may also face stiff penalties for failing to comply.

With the new state regulation hanging over their heads, body art establishment owners located in your city may start visiting city hall with some questions. For example, in cities that already regulate body art establishments, the owner may be asking 1) do local standards meet the new state standards? 2) do I need to get a local license now or a state license?

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