Marshalls Creek, Monroe County - In Pennsylvania you need a license to give a hair cut or a manicure at a salon but you don't need a license to open a shop and give tattoos.
There are no health and safety regulations for tattoo shops. But some people want to change that.
When Ink Splat 13 Tattoo Shop was ready to open in Marshalls Creek, the owner called the board of health. Tattoo Artist Jack Flachek works at Ink Splat 13. He said, "It was like, 'Hey come down inspect it and they were like why are you even calling us? We don't inspect this stuff.'"
The staff couldn't believe Pennsylvania doesn't inspect businesses like theirs. They come from New Jersey where the state inspects tattoo shops to make sure they are clean and safe. Customer Joe Aspren of Bushkill asked, "You're putting something on your body that's gonna be there forever. So why have it infected or done incorrectly."
Ink Splat 13 owner Paul Garrison wants to change PA laws. He contacted his local State Representative Rosemary Brown. She shared his concerns. Now the Auditor General wants to regulate tattoo parlors. He wants to require licenses and health inspections. Flachek noted, "We need to get people in here, check to make sure things are sterile so we don't spread diseases."
Ink Splat 13 isn't waiting for a law to pass. It already has a safety and cleanliness protocol. Flachek said, "We base ours off of New Jersey and California. They have the highest standards in the tattoo industry."
All equipment is sterilized and used needles get thrown away. The staff undergoes safety training. That makes customers like Aspren happy. He said, "The place is spotless all the time. It's cleaner than a hospital in here."
It's not clear when state lawmakers will vote on the issue.
Opponents say the government should stay out of their businesses. They believe this is just a way for the state to make money.