Women’s Foundation Helps Secure Passage of Historic Occupational Licensing Reforms

HB 1500 will allow hair braiders to practice without a cosmetology license, makes Missouri 15th State with cost benefit analysis law

Jefferson City, Mo. – The Women’s Foundation today applauded the Missouri General Assembly for passing HB 1500, which will reduce occupational licensing regulations and allow hair braiders to practice without a cosmetology license. As an alternative, hair braiders must register with the State Board of Cosmetology and Barber Examiners. They must also complete a self-test on infection control techniques and diseases of the scalp based upon a brochure to be prepared by the board.

“This legislation is a great step forward that will increase economic opportunity and allow more women entrepreneurs to realize their full economic potential,” said Wendy Doyle Women’s Foundation President and CEO. “Hair braiding is a prime example of how occupational licensing requirements can be a barrier for women seeking to start their own businesses or pursue more flexible careers. Our research has shown that easing these unnecessary and onerous regulations will benefit women and strengthen the economy, and we thank state Rep. Shamed Dogan, Sen. Bill Eigel and others for championing this much-needed reform.”

HB 1500 also includes other reforms recommended by the Women’s Foundation, including sunrise provisions to ensure the state does not impose unreasonable occupational licensing burdens unless there is a compelling interest to protect the public. If such a reason exists, the state will select the least restrictive regulation. This provision is informed by Women’s Foundation research that outlines solutions to lower occupational licensing barriers.

The research concluded that unnecessary regulations restrict entry into certain professions and make it harder for women to start their own businesses. In the state of Missouri, hair braiders must complete over 1,000 hours of training for a cosmetology license, even though the training does not include hair braiding skills. In January, Kendall Seal, VP Vice President of Research & Policy and General Counsel of the Women’s Foundation testified in support of HB 1500.

HB 1500 will give  hair braiders the opportunity to operate their businesses while protecting consumers.

To learn more about the Women’s Foundation occupational licensing research click here.