Friday, February 9, 2001
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Posted on: Friday, February 9, 2001

House panel approves tattooing, piercing rules

By Ronna Bolante
Advertiser Capitol Bureau

Minors would have to have parental permission for any body-piercing or tattoos under two bills approved by the House Health Committee yesterday.

There is now no age requirement for body-piercing. There also is no licensing process for body-piercing practitioners in Hawaii.

State Department of Health rules already prohibit people younger than 18 from getting tattoos without parental consent. The department is responsible for administering licenses to tattoo artists and conducting sanitation inspections for tattoo shops.

La-Von Yamabayashi, who supported the bill, told legislators her 16-year-old daughter got her tongue pierced last year without informing Yamabayashi.

"It upset me that someone could do an invasive procedure on my child without letting me know or getting my permission to do so," Yamabayashi said.

She said she is routinely asked to give her approval when her daughter attends field trips or receives dental care, but no one asked for permission to poke a hole in her daughter’s tongue.

Committee Vice Chairman K. Mark Takai introduced both bills. Takai said he wants the Health Department to license piercing.

"We are specific and deliberate in the requirements for tattoo artists," said Takai, D-34th (Waimalu, Newtown, Pearl City). "Regarding body-piercing, to our knowledge, there are no requirements."

The bill on tattooing would require parents to be present at the tattooing procedure or provide written notarized consent.

Committee Chairman Dennis Arakaki, D-28th (Kalihi Valley, Kamehameha Heights), said: "We’re not making it illegal for a child to have tattooing or body-piercing. We just want to make sure the providers have parental consent."

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