Hair braiders scored a major victory yesterday with the passage of a bill that reforms occupational licensing for women across the state. Hair braiders will no longer need a cosmetology license or the related 1,500 -2,000 hours of unnecessary training to perform their craft and barber applicants will no longer need to prove “good moral character” or submit to a physical examination to practice their occupation of barbering. A study by the Institute of Public Policy, commissioned by the Women’s Foundation, found that Missouri regulations were especially burdensome for hair braiders because existing requirements forced hair braiders to be trained in skills they do not need and that the required education and exams for cosmetologists historically has not included hair braiding.
HB 1500, sponsored by Shamed Dogan, sets out the revised requirements for the practice of cosmetology and hair braiding in Missouri. Additionally, it provides that individuals engaged in hair braiding businesses may receive a mandatory instructional video about infection control from the Board of Cosmetology and Barber Examiners and can register with the state for a fee of (not more than) $20. The measure also provides reciprocity for cosmetology license holders from other states, meaning they will no longer have to test in Missouri in order to receive a MO license to practice cosmetology. The bill has passed both the Senate and House and is awaiting review by the Governor. When signed, the law will become effective in August 2018.