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Bill would lift Idaho’s hair braiding license requirement

Idaho

BOISE (AP) — An Idaho lawmaker has introduced a bill that would lift the licensing requirements for professional hair braiders, after three Black women filed a federal lawsuit over the braiding rules.

Rep. Colin Nash, a Democrat from Boise, told the House State Affairs Committee on Thursday that he thought the requirement had been lifted last year, but the lawsuit filed Tuesday showed that it was still an issue. Idaho is one of five states that still require cosmetology licenses for professional hair braiding. The licenses require 1,600 hours of training and can cost up to $20,000, even though cosmetology schools aren’t required to teach braiding techniques for naturally textured hair.

The women, who are all experienced at hair braiding and represented by the Institute for Justice, filed the lawsuit against the Idaho Barber and Cosmetology Services Licensing Board in Boise’s U.S. District Court on Tuesday.

Nash told the committee that the bill would make clear that hair braiding is not included in the state’s rules on cosmetology. He said the legislation would, “hopefully save the taxpayers some money, and get out of the way of private business owners who would like to engage in the practice of hair braiding.”

The bill won unanimous support from the committee members, who voted to speed its progress through the House by moving it ahead on the reading calendar.

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