Most states have wrapped up their 2019 legislative sessions and as usual there were no shortage of bills introduced affecting our industry. From full cosmetology deregulation in Texas and West Virginia (don’t worry—we quickly defeated both!) to bills concerning independent contractors in California and Washington, your PBA Government Affairs Team and our Beauty Industry Advocates have been busy defending and protecting our industry.
After Virginia successfully passed blow-dry and styling deregulation in 2018, several states introduced their own versions of the bill. It is the policy position of PBA to oppose this type of deregulation for several reasons:
- Unlicensed professionals are not required to be trained to utilize chemicals and tools safely to avoid injuries and the spread of infectious diseases.
- Deregulating blow-dry services does not support long-term growth and a sustainable career path with greater earning potential for those wanting to enter the beauty industry.
- 48 states require a cosmetology license to provide professional beauty services, and unlicensed employees cannot be insured or held accountable by the state.
Proponents of blow-dry service deregulation claim that there is little risk associated with simply cleansing, conditioning and styling a client’s hair with hot tools, and that requiring regulation is a barrier to employment. However, our industry knows this is not the case. Shaila Rogers, an esthetics instructor from Arizona, shared the following with members of the Arizona House of Representatives and State Senate:
“I have lived in Arizona close to my entire life. I have been an esthetician for six years and an instructor for two. In my two years of being an instructor, I have met and worked with hundreds of students who are joining this field. No matter what services are being provided by beauty industry professionals in the field, all need to be properly trained and should be licensed so that they are held accountable for what they do.” We are so grateful for passionate and dedicated Beauty Industry Advocates like Shaila!
Supporters of blow-dry service deregulation include the Institute for Justice, the Goldwater Institute and other libertarian organizations. Your PBA Government Affairs Team and our Beauty Industry Advocates have worked tirelessly to oppose any type of blow-dry deregulation again this year. Even though we offered common-sense compromises to total blow-dry service deregulation in Arizona (including allowing cosmetology students to work in salons and earn while they learn), the Goldwater Institute and Senator Ugenti-Rita would not work with us to come to a compromise.
Fighting this type of legislation is truly a team effort, working together with local beauty industry organizations (both online and in person) to make the greatest impact. In total, over 1,700 advocates made 8,819 direct contacts with legislators to attempt to stop these bills. Here are the states that introduced this legislation in 2019, and the outcome of each bill:
Arizona Senate Bill 1401 exempts a person from licensure who dries, styles, arranges, dresses, curls, hot irons or shampoos/conditions hair. The bill states that they must take a sanitation, infection control and law class as prescribed by the State Board of Cosmetology. Despite a 90-minute debate on the floor of the Arizona House of Representatives, this bill passed on party lines with all Republicans voting yes and all Democrats voting no. While we were ultimately not successful in Arizona, the strong showing of industry and client opposition could not be ignored.
Colorado House Bill 19-1330 exempts a person from licensure who engages only in hair drying services, which services include drying, styling, arranging, curling, hot ironing, or cleansing hair. This bill did not pass.
Massachusetts House Docket 1198 is very close in language to Arizona SB 1401. The bill exempts persons who dry, style, arrange, dress, curl, hot iron or shampoo and condition hair if the service does not include applying reactive chemicals to permanently straighten, curl or alter the structure of the hair and if the person takes and completes a class relating to sanitation, infection protection and law review that is provided by the State Board or its designee. The bill also states that the individual providing the unlicensed service must post a conspicuous sign stating they are unlicensed. This bill was introduced in May and is still being considered in the Massachusetts Legislature.
Minnesota Senate File 2227 deregulates “hairstyling,” defined as the practice of cleaning, drying, arranging, or styling hair (as well as makeup and eyelash extension services). This amendment was introduced at the very end of session by the Institute for Justice. We worked directly with the Minnesota Salon Spa Association to stop this amendment, and it was not included in the final version of the bill.
New Jersey Assembly Bill 5492 exempts blow-dry services from cosmetology licensure. PBA and the Beauty Industry Advocates sprang into action to quickly oppose this. The sponsor of the bill listened to our concerns and responded by withdrawing the bill from consideration, therefore this bill did not pass.
We expect these types of bills to pop up again during 2020 legislative sessions, so your state may be next.
The best way to stay on top of legislation affecting our industry is to text PROBEAUTY to 52886. When you text, you’ll then be prompted to enter your email address and zip code, so you can receive up-to-the-minute updates on legislation affecting YOUR home state.
Additionally, we need more Beauty Industry Advocates to write letters, attend committee hearings, and more! It’s important for every professional to understand the issues affecting our industry. Your voice matters! For more information on the Beauty Industry Advocate program, click here and scroll to the bottom of the page.
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to me: firstname.lastname@example.org.