A bill introduced by Tennessee lawmakers Thursday would prohibit tattoos and other piercings on children younger than 14.
The bill was introduced by Rep. Mike Settle, R-Eden Prairie, and Sen. David Holtzclaw, R.I., who also sponsored legislation that would make tattoo removal illegal in the state for children older than 14 years old.
The bill has not been referred to the House of Representatives.
“I think there’s no way we’re going to have kids who are not being able to get tattoos,” Settle said.
“I think it would be counterproductive.”
Holtzclaw said his bill was designed to help children and teens who are at risk of being bullied, who might not be able to go to a regular school or even have access to the internet.
“The people that are at greatest risk of becoming a victim are the kids who aren’t getting the same services that they need,” he said.
Holtzzclaw said the bill would allow schools to opt out of providing tattoo removal services for children younger to 14 years of age if they feel the practice is not in their best interest.
Settle said he also wants to make it clear that anyone who is able to do a tattoo on a child younger than 12 years old would be allowed to do so, and that no one would be punished for removing a child’s tattoo.
“It’s the responsibility of parents to make sure their kids are safe,” he told The Associated Press.
“We don’t want to take the opportunity to make them feel like they can’t go to school, to go on the internet, to do things that they’re supposed to be doing.
The way I see it is that if somebody is doing that, then you’re not making any sense.”
The legislation is modeled after the Texas bill, which was passed by the Texas Legislature earlier this year and has already been signed into law by Gov.
It was approved by the state’s Republican-controlled Legislature in June.
Hillsclaw told The AP that he is hopeful his bill will be passed this year.
“This is a long-term thing, and it is something that is going to be in the books for a very long time,” he says.
“It’s a matter of time before this goes into the books in this state.”
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