(Sadly, only the biggest of my fellow Star Wars dorks will catch the pun in that headline. Anyway...)
On one side of this intergalactic conflict, the Florida Professional Tattoo Artists Guild. The nonprofit corporation has been active in legislative issues that affect the state's tattoo industry since the early 1990s. More recently, it drafted a bill that's being sponsored by Hallandale Beach Sen. Eleanor Sobel. It would provide a framework for the licensure of tattooists. But the guild consulted the rest of the state's tattooists only after they worked with Sobel on the bill.
And based on that faux pas -- as well as some controversial language in the current bill -- a segment of the Florida tattoo industry has declared that the guild does not represent them, and they have organized to kill the bill. That group, which has named itself the Florida Coalition of Tattooists and is led by Fort Lauderdale tattooist-turned-activist Stevie Moon, published an online article this morning, asking fellow artists to join the rebellion.
Here's an excerpt from that article:
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Many currently licensed business owners are worried that they will be forced out of business because they do not currently meet some of the proposals in this bill. Such as, proving that they have been in business for a minimum of 5 years and be able to prove it with either Federal Income Tax filings or past business licenses. They would also need to obtain written recommendations from 5 other professionals in the business. This can prove difficult because the recommendations would most like have to come from competitors.
In an interview with Juice earlier this month, Guild President William Hannong said that Moon and company have overreacted to the bill and that his group had already agreed to change the language.
Moon's group doesn't buy it. This morning, the coalition is spreading word of a meeting to be staged Sunday in Tallahassee, with the expressed purpose of christening the coalition and defeating the bill.
The original battle royal took place within the comments field of this Juice blog post, which gives a flavor of the pitched emotions on both sides.