Jefferson City, Mo. – Citing its research on how occupational licensing and fees can restrict economic opportunity, Women’s Foundation today testified in favor of Missouri House Bill 1500, which would allow hair braiders to earn a living without obtaining a cosmetology license.
“These excessive requirements force African hair braiders to operate in an underground economy and prevent them from realizing their full economic potential,” said Kendall Seal, Vice President of Research & Policy and General Counsel of the Women’s Foundation. “We believe that House Bill 1500 takes the right approach and is one small step policymakers can take to support the business environment that allows
women entrepreneurs to flourish rather than being penalized for their innovation and
willingness to work.”
To become a licensed cosmetologist in Missouri, one has to complete either
1,500 hours in a school of cosmetology, or 3,000 hours in an apprenticeship
program, and pass a written and a practical exam. However, the training and the
exams do not cover African hair braiding. The Women’s Foundation noted that, a result of these stringent requirements, hair braiders are forced to operate in an underground economy and are not able to realize their full economic potential.
House Bill 1500 would require individuals engaging in braiding to register with the State Board of Cosmetology and Barber Examiners and complete a self-test on infection control techniques and diseases of the scalp.
A copy of the testimony is available here.