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August 10, 2005

Gov. Blagojevich vetoes bill that would allow teenagers to get tattoos
Governor amendatorily vetoes legislation to prevent lowering age to get a tattoo from 21 to 18; backs provisions that strengthen enforcement

SPRINGFIELD Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today amendatorily vetoed legislation that would have allowed Illinois teenagers to legally get tattoos. The Governor’s amendatory veto of House Bill 29 keeps the legal age to get a tattoo at 21 years old, instead of lowering the age to 18.
“As a parent, I don’t want my daughters to rush to get tattoos on their 18th birthdays.  At that age, most kids are still in high school and don’t have the judgment or perspective to decide on something as permanent as tattooing your skin,” said Gov. Blagojevich.  “Teenagers may not realize getting a tattoo is a decision they’ll live with, and potentially regret, for the rest of their lives.  That’s why I refuse to support legislation that allows teenager to get tattoos.”
By amendatorily vetoing HB 29, the Governor struck down the provision that would have lowered the legal age to get a tattoo, but the Governor supports other parts of the bill becoming law – including increases in penalties for tattooing or body piercing a minor.  Penalties for tattooing or piercing a minor would go from a Class C to a Class A misdemeanor.  The bill also establishes a Class A misdemeanor for anyone younger than the age of 18 to be on the premises where tattooing or body piercing is being performed unless that person is accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. 
House Bill 29 does not apply to ear piercing or to licensed medical procedures, such as acupuncture.
The Governor’s changes to House Bill 29 will go before the General Assembly during the Fall Veto Session.  If lawmakers vote to accept his changes, the law will take effect on January 1st, 2006.
According to the National Council of State Legislatures, 39 states currently regulate tattooing.  Illinois remains one of two states where the minimum age to get a tattoo is 21.  The minimum age in the other 37 states is 18.  The legal age in Illinois for body piercing will remain 18. 


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