The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, February 12, 1999, Page 6, Image 6

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Committee puts off piercing bill
Responsibility issues of body modifications questioned
By Shane Anthony
Staff writer
A piercing issue raised enough
sticking points to kill LB255 Thursday
The Judiciary Committee voted to
indefinitely postpone the bill, intro
duced by Bradshaw Sen. Elaine Stuhr,
which would have made it a crime to tat
too or pierce anyone under the age of 18
without parental consent. No one spoke
in opposition to the bill, but committee
members had several questions.
“That should be a parental responsi
bility issue,” Sen. Thomas Baker of
Trenton said. He also said health prob
lems - one of Stuhr’s concerns - had not
been a big issue.
Dr. Tom Safranek, state epidemiolo
gist, testified as a neutral party. He said
potential health risks exist, but they have
been “inapparent” so far.
No cases of tattoos resulting in
hepatitis B, hepatitis C or HIV have
been reported in Nebraska, he said.
In her testimony, Stuhr said diseases
and infections concerned her, but the
bill had roots in real life.
In October 1997, without parental
consent, six 13- and 14-year-old girls
received tattoos from a man in York.
Authorities told parents the man had
broken no laws. At least one parent
turned to Stuhr.
Thursday, Stuhr presented the com
mittee a letter from Renee Steider,
whose daughter was involved in the
October 1997 incident.
“It appears to me if this man keyed
my car, I can have him arrested for van
dalism,” Steider wrote. “But he can
carve on my 13-year-old daughter and
leave a marie that will be there for the
rest of her life, and he has broken no
■. 4 * • • •- ■ - ■ * *_*
Stuhr introduced a bill in response
last year. It failed to pass general file
because of time constraints, she said,
which disappointed her constituents.
“There has been a great deal of con
cern from parents,” she said.
At least one person who does pierc
ings agreed with the bill.
“It’s about time somebody does
that,” said J. King, who pierces in a
small room on the second floor of The
Ozone, 120 N. 14th St
He said he insists on sterilizing his
tools, and he will gladly explain the pro
cedure to satisfy questions. With the
exception of ear piercings, he said, he
would not pierce someone younger than
18 without parental consent. But not
everyone operates that way.
“Nobody’s watching down on us to
make sure we’re clean,” he said.
But during the hearing, Omaha Sen.
Ernie Chambers questioned who should
be watching. He said cities have the
authority to pass such laws.
Other senators thought the
Legislature could look at different ideas.
“We need to do something about
maybe licensing those people,” said
Sen. Dwite Pedersen of Elkhom.
Stuhr said the Health and Human
Services Department recommended
criminal laws be established before
licensing. License requirements would
mean higher costs for the department,
she said, but she might introduce such a
bill next session.
Stuhr said the weather may have
played a part Thursday. Some people
who had hoped to testify could not
make the hearing because of blowing
snow, she said.
“They say timing is everything,” she
Daniel Luedert/DN
J.J. KING CLEANS a belly ring he pierced for Nixie Eyiar, 20, of Syracuse, at
the O-Zone, 120 N. 14th, Tuesday afternoon. Eyiar decided on her navel for
the body piercing, she said, so she can pick and choose who will view it.
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