First, the problem was that Florida tattooists didn't have a good way to communicate with each other. That's how hundreds of them were caught by surprise when they learned that Hallandale Beach Sen. Eleanor Sobel had introduced a bill that would overhaul regulation of the state's tattoo industry. Now, it seems, the problem is that they communicate too well.
As of this morning, opponents of that Sobel bill were joined by the original proponents of the bill -- because both sides believed that the senator's legislation was moving forward without the amendments tattooists requested. The bill's to be heard today in the Florida Senate Health Regulation Committee.
The Sobel staffer working on the tattoo bill, Sammy Kalmowicz, told me a moment ago: "I physically just filed the amendments with the committee two hours ago." He then e-mailed an amended version of the bill with changes, he said, that were "based on the concerns we read on the blogs from (the Juice) story."
On Sunday a group called the Coalition of Florida Tattooists, which formed quickly in response to the Sobel bill, staged its inaugural meeting in Tallahassee. The coalition was upset that an older tattoo group, called the Florida Professional Tattoo Artists Guild, had shaped the Sobel bill without the participation of more tattooists.
I hope to hear back soon from Bill Hannong, the guild's president, as well as Stevie Moon, the Fort Lauderdale tattooist who organized the coalition. Here is the amended bill: