Assigned to HEALTH & CED                                                                                                        FOR COMMITTEE






Forty-ninth Legislature, First Regular Session




body art establishments; licensure




            Institutes licensure requirements, regulations and standards for body art establishments. Requires body art establishments to obtain a license by January 1, 2011.




            In 1996, the Legislature enacted legislation making it unlawful to tattoo a person under 18 years of age without the presence of that person’s parent or legal guardian.  The legislation specified that a person who commits a violation is guilty of a class 6 felony (Laws 1996, Chapter 222). 


            The law expanded in 1999 to also prohibit the practice of branding, scarifying, implanting, mutilating or piercing a person under the age of 18 without the physical presence of the person’s parent or legal guardian.  However, the prohibition does not apply to ear piercing if the person under 18 has written or verbal permission from a parent or legal guardian.  The prohibition also does not apply to procedures prescribed by a licensed health care provider (Laws 1999, Chapter 323). 


            Current statute further regulates the practice of tattooing and other forms of body modification by prohibiting certain acts in the Arizona Criminal Code (Arizona Revised Statutes, Title 13).  Specifically, it is unlawful for a person to do any of the following:

Ø      Use a needle, or any substance that leaves color under the skin, more than once.

Ø      Use a needle that is not properly sterilized.

Ø      Engage in the business of tattooing, branding, scarifying, implanting, mutilating or body piercing out of a home or an impermanent structure, such as a tent or trailer.

Ø      If the person is not a licensed health professional, it is unlawful to administer anesthesia during the course of any procedure that involves branding, scarifying, tattooing, implanting, mutilating or piercing the body of another person.


            A person who commits a prohibited act is guilty of a class 6 felony, which carries a presumptive sentence of one year in prison plus fines and surcharges.  If a person is prosecuted for committing a prohibited act, it is a defense that the person requested age identification and relied in good faith on the accuracy of the information contained in the identification.


            Finally, current statute regulates waste disposal from tattoo establishments.  Tattoo needles and any waste exposed to human blood generated in the creation of a tattoo must be disposed of in the same manner as biohazardous medical waste.  A person who does not comply with these disposal requirements is subject to a civil penalty of $500 per violation (Laws 2005, Chapter 239).


            Arizona currently does not require licensure or certification to engage in the practice or business of tattooing, branding, scarifying, implanting, mutilating, tattooing or piercing.


            The fiscal impact to the state General Fund is undetermined at this time.




Prohibited Acts


1.      Prohibits a body art establishment operator from performing the following actions beginning January 1, 2012:

a)      Operating an unlicensed body art establishment.

b)      Authorizing or performing body art on a minor under the age of 18 without both the written consent and the physical presence of the child’s parent or legal guardian at the body art establishment.

c)      Using a needle to tattoo or pierce another person more than once or using an unsterilized needle.

d)     Using a stud-and-clasp piercing gun or system more than once, unless the gun or system is capable of being disinfected and is properly disinfected after each use.

e)      Using a piercing gun or system for any body part other than an ear.

f)       Administering anesthesia during the course of any procedure involving the branding, scarifying, tattooing, implanting, mutilating or piercing of another person, unless otherwise permitted by law.

g)      Engaging in the business of tattooing, branding, scarifying, implanting, mutilating or piercing out of a home or impermanent structure.


Licensure Application and Fees


2.      Requires a body art operator who wishes to operate a body art establishment to have a current license issued by a local public health department by January 1, 2012. 


3.      Specifies that the body art operator must have a separate license for each establishment.


4.      Allows a local public health department to set its own fees relating to body art establishment licensure.


5.      Requires an applicant for licensure to file a completed application as required by the Department of Health Services (DHS) and to include the prescribed fee in the application.


6.      Specifies that a license is nontransferable.


7.      Requires the licensee or operator to post the license and, if applicable, the most recent inspection in a prominent and conspicuous area.


Temporary Establishments and Licenses


8.      Requires a body art establishment that operates a temporary establishment at another location, such as a trade show or for demonstration, to have a current temporary license issued by the local public health department. 


9.      Specifies that an applicant for a temporary license must file a completed application as required by the local public health department and include the prescribed application fee.


10.  Stipulates that, in order to obtain a temporary license, the applicant must hold a permanent license for a body art establishment in good standing.


11.  Specifies that a temporary license is nontransferable and is valid for four days or until the conclusion of the special event, whichever occurs first.


12.  Requires the operator to post the temporary license and, if applicable, the most recent inspection in a prominent and conspicuous area.


Minimum Standards for Operation


13.  Requires DHS to establish minimum standards regarding sanitation, pest control, proper disposal of equipment and bodily fluids, sterilization of equipment and surface areas, record keeping, business procedures and employee requirements.


14.  Mandates that an operator and the body art establishment’s employees comply with all prescribed standards and stipulates compliance with the minimum standards as a condition of licensure.


15.  Requires a county that regulates body art establishments to adopt standards that are at least as stringent as those prescribed by DHS.


Investigations and Disciplinary Action


16.  Authorizes local public health departments to receive and investigate complaints against body art establishments, initiate and conduct investigations and enter and inspect the premises during business hours.


17.  Authorizes local public health departments to take action if it believes, as a result of an inspection or investigation, a violation has occurred.  Specifically, the departments may do the following:

a)      If a violation does not pose a risk to public health or safety, notify the licensee in writing and instruct the licensee to correct the violation within a reasonable time.

b)      Issue a cease and desist order.

c)      Impose a civil penalty per violation.

d)     Assess and collect reasonable costs that accrue as a result of a disciplinary hearing.

e)      Accept the voluntary surrender of a license.

f)       If immediate action is required, order the suspension or restriction of a license pending an administrative hearing.




18.  Authorizes the Director of DHS to enter, examine and survey any body art establishment for oversight and general supervision purposes.


19.  Allows a county or municipality to adopt and enforce regulations affecting body art establishments and allows them to impose stricter regulations than those adopted by DHS.


20.  Exempts DHS from rule making requirements for two years after the effective date and requires DHS to hold at least two public meetings before adopting rules.




21.  Defines the following terms:

a)      Body art – The practice of physical body adornment by body piercing, tattooing, cosmetic tattooing, permanent skin coloring, branding, and scarification.  Body art does not include practices that are considered medical procedures by a state medical board, practices that are noninvasive forms of painting through the use of dyes or inks, or practices considered by the state Board of Cosmetology to be aesthetics, cosmetology or nail technology.

b)      Body art establishment – any place where body art is performed, whether or not for profit, under the direction of a body art establishment operator.

c)      Body art establishment employee – a person who practices body art at a body art establishment under the direction of a body art establishment operator.

d)     Body art establishment operator – a person who controls, operates, manages or practices body art activities at a body art establishment.

e)      Body piercing – puncturing or penetrating a person’s skin with a needle or sharpened jewelry and inserting jewelry or other adornment in the opening.  Body piercing includes ear piercing.

f)       Department – the Department of Health Services.

g)      Ear piercing – the puncturing of the outer perimeter or lobe of the ear with a needle.

h)      Local public health department – a county department of health or a public health services district.

i)        Tattooing – any method of placing ink or other pigment into or under the skin or mucosa to permanently color the skin or mucosa by using needles or any other instrument to puncture the skin.  Tattooing includes all forms of cosmetic tattooing and permanent skin coloring such as eyeliner, eyebrows, lip liner, full lip color, repigmentation or camouflage.


22.  Becomes effective on the general effective date.


Prepared by Senate Research

June 8, 2009