By BOB PALMER
Jimplecute News Editor
Local barbers and cosmetologists agreed this week, State Rep. Matthew Shaheen, R-Plano, has a bad idea. House Bill 1705, sponsored by Shaheen, proposes the state no longer require barbers and cosmetologists to earn licenses.
“I’m all against it,” Tyrani Braddock, owner of Tangle N Tease, said.
“That’s (eliminating licensing requirements) dangerous,” Brooklynn Bradley-LaFleur, owner of Salon Rouge, agreed.
Advocates of HB 1705 argue for a reduction in government regulations and regulators to benefit business. “Don’t you want people working with chemicals to be regulated?” Bradley-LaFleur countered.
Bradley-LaFleur pointed out her cosmetology studies included chemistry, anatomy and physiology. “I think a lot of people think it is all glitz and glam,” Patty Redman, an instructor at Panola College’s Cosmetology Department.
“Random people putting chemicals on your head that aren’t safe will be detrimental to a lot of people,” Redman, who worked 10 years as a cosmetologist before teaching for the past four years, said.
Safety and sanitation were two of the concerns voiced by Redman, Braddock and Bradley-LaFleur. “Diseases are spreadable to clients if equipment is not properly cleaned,” Redman said. “Clippers have to be cleaned and sanitized between each client. A towel has to be wrapped around the neck so the cape doesn’t touch the client.“
Braddock noted the value of attending classes. “If you don’t go to school,” Braddock said, “you don’t know about things that can hurt your client.” Barbers Alton Fugler and Bruce Cooner did not care for the idea. “They might as well eliminate barber licenses,” Cooner said tongue-in-cheek. “Pretty soon there won’t be any barbers left.”
Per Redman, “kitchen stylists” might benefit from the new law, but the buyer should be aware. “I see what (home beauticians) messed up,” Redman said. “Color correction is not an easy thing.”
Then Redman had an idea. “This may be more profitable for pros,” Redman speculated. “There will be a lot of messes to fix. In the end you get what you pay for.” A writer on occupational regulation, Edward Timmons, noted Alabama was without licenses from 1983 to 2013, when the legislature reinstated them.
Great Britain has also abandoned licensing in favor of voluntary certification. “If barbers and cosmetologists are providing poor quality service, they won’t be in business for very long,” Timmons asserted.
“There’s no better regulator than market competition.” Go Ree writing in support of HB 1705 on a state web site claimed too many schools swindle cosmetology students and the Department of Health could regulate and enforce sanitation and hygiene requirements.
Both Fugler and Bradley-LaFleur report a de-facto deregulation. They say inspectors have not visited them in years. “I can tell you exactly when the last inspector visited,” Bradley-LaFleur said looking at the certificate on the wall. “It was 2015. But we are ready for them every day.”
After a hearing last month, Shaheen’s bill has been referred to the House Licensing and Administrative Procedures Committee. “When someone is looking for a cosmetologist, how do they know she is qualified? How do they know she knows what she is doing?” Bradley-LaFleur asked. “They can look at my license and know that I am.”
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