three cheers for matt bevin and the hair braiders of kentucky
I’m not the Tea Party type, but I give credit where credit is due. Bravo to Matt Bevin, governor of Kentucky, for signing a bill to legalize hair braiding without a license. Like many states, Kentucky has required that hair braiders obtain an expensive license to practice their craft. Hair braiding license laws are not only ridiculous on their face, but they impose an undue hardship on low income African American women. Hair braiding is a craft that poses little risk, requires little capital investment and can be a good living for those who are good at it. Before Governor Bevin signed the bill, a resident of Kentucky needed to attend 1,800 hours of cosmetology school, which normally runs about $20,000. In other words, to braid hair for a living, you needed to get a college degree.
This is a good step because many license laws regulate occupations that are genuinely low risk and that provide much needed income to poor people. In addition to hair braiding, you need about a year of training to learn how to install garage doors, about $1000 in fees in Nevada to operate a floor sander, and some states require a 70 day training program to shampoo hair at a salon. These may seem like small things, but to a poor person, each license is another closed door.
The Obama administration has made this one of their issues and I commend them. Removing unneeded license laws not only helps poor people and minorities, but can also help those with a criminal record re-enter the workforce, as many entry level jobs have licenses that can’t be obtained with a felony conviction.