Can you legislate parenting?
A legislator from South Florida is pushing a law that would make it illegal for anyone under 16 to get a tattoo and would require parents to show up in person to give consent to anyone under 18 getting inked. Last week, South Florida Rep. Mary Brandenburg unveiled the legislation, which includes extra safety measures to combat the high rate of hepatitis infections from tattoos.
There are no age limits for tattoos in Florida, but parental or guardian consent is required for minors, under current statute.
It strikes me as just good parenting to get a kid to keep his body unchanged until he's 18. If I'd have gotten a tattoo at 16, I'd be the only 40 year old at the PTA meeting with Duran Duran on my rear end. But is that for the state to say? At least in one state, you can get arrested for tattooing your kids.
The Senate sponsor is Eleanor Sobel, D-Hollywood, who is also sponsoring legislation to require parental consent for teens using tanning beds.
Both good ideas, I'm sure. I usually think education is a better weapon than legislation, but maybe the safety message just isn't getting through.
--Sharon Kennedy Wynne
[Photo: A cover of tbt* imagines what's in store without a tattoo law.]