Body piercing rules could be tightened in Minnesota

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Lawmakers in Minnesota want to close some loopholes, so to speak, when it comes to body-piercing regulations in the state.

A bill sponsored by State Rep. Nick Zerwas, R-Elk River, recommends three changes be made to current law, Valley News Live reports.

The first would ban four specific types of body piercing: horizontal tongue piercing, gum piercing, eyelid piercing and Princess Albertina piercing – which is a specific kind of female genital piercing.

The second would require more training for people who do body piercings, and the third would clarify the procedures allowed for those under 18, which would require their parents' consent.

A House committee heard testimony on the bill Friday before passing it on for other committee action.

The four piercing types that would be outlawed are uncommon but have significant health risks, Carol Tepley of Almost Famous Body Piercings in Minneapolis told committee members Friday, according to Valley News Live.

Tepley pushed for the changes to be made after Minnesota enacted a body art licensing law in 2010. That law covers tattoos in addition to body piercings, according to the Star Tribune.

The newspaper reports that the conversation during the committee meeting became a bit uncomfortable as members and witnesses discussed the nature of Princess Albertina and other genital piercings.

But there was a more serious side to the questions. One committee member wondered whether professional piercers who would perform genital piercings – some of which would still be legal – should undergo criminal background checks, according to the Star Tribune.

Tepley said the changes being proposed do not address that question, but she told the committee that some city and county ordinances cover licensing for piercings and tattoos, and those might require background checks.

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