Want to braid hair? Talk to Big Brother.

Despite not having time to address lobbyist reform during the past few weeks, the General Assembly was able to pass a myriad of minor bills, including one (SB 707) which would require a license for hair braiders . Why is this law needed? According to Rep. Youngblood (D-Philadelphia), many hair braiders were already receiving fines for practicing “without a license” (under both state and Philadelphia city law), despite no specific law covering hair braiding.

SB 707 would allow the State Board of Cosmetology to issue “limited licenses” for hair braiders (along with estheticians and nail painters) with only 300 hours of instruction – as opposed to the 1,500 hours required for licensed cosmetologists – at an approved cosmetology school and pass an examination. Additionally, hair braiders that have been “actively practicing” for three years can get a temporary license, and will only need 150 hours of training to renew the license.

While we applaud the effort to reduce the amount of regulation on hair braiders, and limit the cost of becoming a hair braider, Pennsylvania should eliminate hair braiding licensing entirely. At least ten other states have specifically removed hair braiding from the jurisdiction of the state cosmetology boards, creating an open market for any individual who wishes to pursue the trade of hair braiding.

Read more on economic opportunity, occupational licensing, and hair braiding from the Institute for Justice.