The Coastal Post - February, e rese

Legal Challenge To Cosmetology Licensing

On January 28 the Institute of Justice filed a lawsuit in federal district court in San Diego challenging the state's cosmetology licensing laws on behalf of practitioners of African hairbraiding, whose chosen profession is stifled by the laws.

The lawsuit is part of the Institute's nationwide campaign to challenge regulations that block entrepreneurship at the entry level. "Government regulations that exceed legitimate public health and safety objectives are cutting off the bottom rungs of the economic ladder," said Clint Boloick, the Institute's lead attorney.

California cosmetology licensing laws require anyone who styles hair to have 1,600 hours, or nine months, of training and an examination, completely unrelated to hairbraiding, a natural hairstyle that uses no chemicals. As a result, most braiders operate underground. The laws needlessly stifle employment and suppress cultural expression.

The California Department of Consumer Affairs has urged deregulation of cosmetology and abolition of the Board of Barbering and Cosmetology, finding that it has a $4 million enforcement budget for fewer than 20 annual instances of disciplinary action for the 400,000 licensed barbers and cosmetologists.