Missy Irvin's body modification bill: still unnecessary and intrusive | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Missy Irvin's body modification bill: still unnecessary and intrusive

Posted By on Wed, Mar 13, 2013 at 11:46 AM

Missy Irvin image
  • Sen. Missy Irvin

This week’s Reporter covers Sen. Missy Irvin’s body modification bill. I’ve previously covered the bill and why it’s a bad idea and why it matters.

Worth highlighting Rep. Nate Bell’s thoughts:

The bottom line is I don't think it's the proper role of government to tell people what they can and cannot do with their own bodies.

Frankly the number of people that are going to be affected by this in Arkansas isn't huge....I certainly don't have any implantations or piercings or scarification. But as I look at it, fundamentally, that's an unreasonable encroachment on personal liberty.

One other thing I’ll add is that Robert Brech, the Health Department attorney interviewed for the story, was very generous with his time and we had a nice chat at the Capitol. While I’m totally unpersuaded by his arguments, I understand where he’s coming from.

One thing that didn’t make it in to the story is that, since we’re talking prohibition, I asked him about alcohol. He immediately said that of course that had a dramatically worse public health impact than anything that happens in a tattoo shop, but gave me the lawyerly dodge that the Health Department doesn’t regulate alcohol but it does regulate body artists.

Although the Health Department has never identified a single case of infection from the practices banned by the bill, nor do they have any research or data about the health risks, I am not saying that there is not a risk of infection. Where I get skeptical is legislators trying to manage that risk for others. There’s really not a lot in the way of negative externalities here (unlike booze!). I think that smart regulation of the industry and clear information for consumers is a good thing. And then let adults decide what they want to do with their own bodies.

We make these kinds of societal tradeoffs all the time. Some things, like alcohol, may cause a lot of harm but we conclude that prohibition is ineffective and only creates more problems than it solves. As Brech readily admitted, there are countless perfectly legal activities and behaviors that have various health risks. Some are unusual, some we take for granted. Many are regulated in some way. What he was never able to explain to me is why this particular activity is worthy of special attention, and of an absolute ban rather than regulation.

For me, I’d argue that attempts to control people’s personal behavior via prohibition regimes will generally be failures, even if well-intentioned. I would argue that our single most nonsensical and pernicious domestic policy on the federal level is rooted in this kind of thinking (I’ll let you guess what!). Others may disagree.

In the case of body modification, though, I think the case is pretty clear. We’re not just trying to police the individual behavior of others. We’re trying to police behavior that has little to no impact on anyone else. When we do that, we are at our worst.

p.s. Sen. Irving previously hasn't responded to requests for comment but she got in touch last night. I hope to interview her soon to get her perspective and will post to the blog.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

From the ArkTimes store

Favorite

Comments (13)

Showing 1-13 of 13

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-13 of 13

Add a comment

More by David Ramsey

  • Stars fell on Alabama

    Polls close at 8 p.m. eastern tonight in the Alabama Senate race between Roy Moore and Doug Jones.
    • Dec 12, 2017
  • Arkansas Times interview with Democratic candidate for governor Jared Henderson

    An interview with former Teach for America state director Jared Henderson, who announced today that he is running for governor. Henderson is most passionate, unsurprisingly, speaking about education. We also discussed the sometimes tense relationship between Teach for America and the state's teacher's union, which is a vital part of the Democratic base (as well as his involvement with a recent $10 million Walton grant for training teachers in high-poverty schools). Plus health care, abortion, guns, Trump, and more.
    • Dec 12, 2017
  • Hutchinson on governor's race: "I am not going to take anything for granted."

    Gov. Hutchinson offered an anodyne welcome to challenger Jared Henderson, who announced his Democratic candidacy for governor today
    • Dec 12, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • IHOP coming down, but .....

    I always scan the Little Rock City Board for items of interest this week and this one caught my eye: A zoning measure required by a proposal to tear down the IHOP at Markham and University.
    • Apr 30, 2016
  • Police identify two women found fatally shot on Chicot Road

    Little Rock police have identified two women found dead of gunshot wounds in an SUV parked next to a vacant trailer in a mobile home park at 11500 Chicot Road.
    • May 16, 2017
  • John Goodson and others add lawyers for hearing on forum shopping

    Lawyers facing federal court sanctions for forum shopping a class action insurance case have brought in new legal guns from out of state to fight potential sanctions.
    • May 26, 2016

Most Shared

  • Industrial hemp pilot program coming soon to Arkansas

    One of the booths at this week's Ark-La-Tex Medical Cannabis Expo was hosted by the Arkansas Hemp Association, a trade group founded to promote and expand non-intoxicating industrial hemp as an agricultural crop in the state. AHA Vice President Jeremy Fisher said the first licenses to grow experimental plots of hemp in the state should be issued by the Arkansas State Plant Board next spring.

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation