Rep. Bob Ballinger’s HB 1177 is one step closer to becoming law after passing out of the House Public Health, Welfare and Safety committee Thursday morning.
Ballinger’s legislation would exempt hair braiders from regulation by the Cosmetology Technical Advisory Committee, the State Board of Health, and the Department of Health — and advance the (apparently) unusual notion that “it is the public policy of this state to protect economic liberty.”
From HB 1177:
Occupational regulation and occupational licenses cause unnecessary difficulties for natural hair braiders to earn an honest living through their practice, to provide for themselves and their families, to offer their services to and compete for customers, and to create new employment and business opportunities through their entrepreneurism.
The bill would also save hair braiders from having to spend money and time on educational requirements mandated by the government that have little, if anything, to do with their careers.
Ballinger said at the committee meeting:
One thing I want to point out…is that we are not ploughing new ground here. We are one of the few states that licenses hair braiders at all. We are actually moving into the majority (of states) on this.
An Arkansas Health Department (ADH) spokesman at the meeting said ADH had received a grand total of two complaints regarding hair braiding since 2011. This information makes it clear that heavy regulation of the hair braiding industry isn’t necessary due to public health or safety concerns.
The bill was passed out of committee with large bipartisan support and now heads to the House floor for a vote.