SB 87: Licensure Exemption for Blow Dry Bars
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Utah law requires people working in dozens of professions to obtain a permission slip before legally being able to offer their services. The state had the 13th most burdensome licensing laws in the country according to the Institute for Justice’s report.
The cosmetology industry is one that is highly burned by licensure—and the existing licensees, including the schools that are paid to train them, fight efforts to reduce these legal requirements. Over the years, they have fought reductions in licensure burdens in order to protect their economic status quo.
But requiring 1,600 hours of classes at a cosmetology school does not make sense for all situations. Several years ago, for example, a Utah woman named Jestina Clayton was punished by the state for offering her hair-braiding services for pay since she was not licensed. Clayton learned how to braid at age five and had been practicing longer than most cosmetology students have been alive. She sued and won her case on the basis of her constitutional right to earn a living. The judge cited the lack of evidence for any threats to public safety as grounds for his decision. (At the time of her punishment, 2,000 hours were required; the Legislature, in response to the lawsuit, later reduced the burden, but only to 1,600 hours.)
Another example where these licenses do not make sense is a blow dry bar—a service where women can have the hair washed, blown dry, and styled. These services do not involve cutting, chemicals, or other treatment options—yet those providing this service are still required by law to pay a school and sit for hundreds of hours of classes they do not need nor want.
Senator Curt Bramble is sponsoring Senate Bill 87 to create a licensure exemption for an individual who “only dries, styles, arranges, dresses, curls, hot irons, shampoos, or conditions hair.” This reasonable exemption builds on the Court’s past ruling and ensures that the heavy burden of licensure—which Governor Spencer Cox has recently ordered be reviewed—only applies where public safety demands it be.