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In this week’s column, I want to highlight another bill of mine. At the beginning of session, I introduced LB 607 on behalf of the Board of Cosmetology, Electrology, Esthetics, Nail Technology and Body Art. LB 607 is an extension of the effort the Health and Human Services Committee and the Legislature has taken over the past few years in updating the statutes that govern these professions.
First and foremost, LB 607 updates the definition of manicuring to include the practice of performing on the natural fingernails of a person and provides a clear cut definition of the practice of pedicuring. Before LB 607, the act of pedicuring fell under the definition of manicuring, but the practice was never defined itself.
LB 607 also updates statutes regarding tattooing to align the definition with current industry standards and puts into statute language that will allow for temporary body art facilities and temporary body artists. This is important as it will allow for the State to host body art conventions at locations such as the Pinnacle Bank Arena or the CHI Health Center in Omaha. The temporary body art facility will be licensed and inspected by the department and the license is only valid for up to seventy-two hours and shall expire at the conclusion of the event. The temporary body artist license could allow the artist to offer services at the temporary body art facility or to be hosted in by a facility licensed as a traditional body art facility. An individual must be registered by the State before they can practice as a temporary body artist and the registration should only last for fourteen consecutive days which can be renewed up to two times per calendar year.
During the hearing on LB 607, the Health and Human Services Committee heard from numerous industry professionals who expressed the need for this legislation, particularly the statutes that would license natural nail procedures. Since individuals do not have to be licensed to perform these services, it means these individuals providing these services do not have to have minimum competency, do not have to adhere to disinfectant regulations, equipment regulations, and general safety regulations as that licensed nail technicians must meet.
Since these individuals providing unlicensed services do not have to meet minimum competency standards and disinfectant standards, this puts our citizens at risk. By using tools that could be unclean, our citizens are at risk of contracting mycobacterium fortuitum or even MRSA, an antibiotic resistant staph infection that can lead to severe scarring, amputation, and even death.
I want to highlight the experience of Niki. Niki received a pedicure in June of 2018 by an individual not licensed. Since that person was not licensed, they used a “cheese grater” foot file, a tool that is prohibited for use by licensed individuals. Unfortunately, Niki developed a flesh-eating infection. In the past eight months, Niki has received five surgeries, most recently to amputate her leg to hopefully stem the infection from spreading. Her amputation occurred hours after the hearing on LB 607.
Niki is just one example. Unfortunately, there are numerous other lawsuits that have been brought to my attention relating to incidences due to unlicensed individuals providing these types of services that have resulted in harm to the customer. At this time, LB 607 remains in the Health and Human Services Committee even though the bill reduces barriers to enter the practice and provides for greater opportunities for our body artists while increasing public health of our state.
As always, if we can be of assistance to you in any way, please do not hesitate to contact my office. My door is open and I have made it a goal to be accessible to the constituents of our district. Please stop by any time. My e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org, and the office phone number is 402-471-2756. Tyler and Katie are always available to assist you with your needs. If I am not immediately available, please do not hesitate to work with them to address any issues that you may need assistance. Please continue to follow me on Facebook at Kolterman for Legislature and on Twitter at @KoltermanforLegislature.