by Julie Tisdale
City & County Policy Analyst
Utah has finally seen sense. From this week, those providing African Hair Braiding services in the state will not have to be licensed by the state or complete the 2000 hours of cosmetology training that the licensing requires. In a case taken on by the Institute for Justice, a judge this week struck down the licensing requirements, saying:
The State does not know which schools, if any, teach African hair braiding; how many hours, if any, of African hair braiding instruction are available at those unknown schools; or whether the unknown number of hours of instruction at those unknown schools are mandatory or elective. …
Utah’s cosmetology/barbering licensing scheme is so disconnected from the practice of African hairbraiding, much less from whatever minimal threats to public health and safety are connected to braiding, that to premise Jestina’s right to earn a living by braiding hair on that scheme is wholly irrational and a violation of her constitutionally protected rights.
This is an important step for freedom in Utah, and it’s an issue in other states as well, including North Carolina. These licensing requirements stand in the way of people’s ability to earn a living, which is the last thing the state should be doing. Hopefully, North Carolina will soon follow Utah’s lead.