Legislating Hairbraiding

Mike Steindel (CLaw7MAn@webtv.net)
Sat, 27 Mar 1999 23:05:00 -0800 (PST)

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Can you believe this! The Calif. Legislature is passing laws regarding
who can braid hair... Some cities actually used undercover cops to bust
people braiding others hair at the beach... What has this Govt. come to.
Have they nothing better to attend to... This is just another blatant
attempt to collect license fees and regulate our lives while creating a
criminal subculture of subversive Hair-Braiders... Enough All ready...
Here are two versions of a law to regulate this service...I'm not sure
that we need either of them...mike

Got this from Assemblyman Howard Kaloogian's e-newsletter. A couple of
things worth noting: The difference between the two bills being
considered as a result of this crime, and, the statement made by the
"Hairbraider's Association". I put asterisks to the left of the best
part, IMHO. Fred from Humboldt 
Hairbraiding is an extremely popular, non-invasive cultural tradition in
the African-American and Caribbean communities that has become a cottage
industry in urban areas throughout California. 

A 1982 legal opinion by the California Attorney General's Office forced
hairbraiding under the auspice of the Barbering and Cosmetology Act.
This was followed by sting operations whereby hairbraiders suddenly
found themselves being arrested by enforcement officers passing
themselves off as clients. A federal lawsuit to overturn the Attorney
General's opinion is pending in San Diego. 

Two lawmakers have introduced bills to rectify this situation. The
difference between them symbolizes the difference between the parties -
more freedom and free enterprise vs. more regulation and government

THE GOOD VERSION ... SB 235, by Senator Ray Haynes, would exempt
professional hairbraiders from the current requirements of barbering and
cosmetology, which includes completing 1,600 hours of instruction
costing upwards of $9,000. These classes teach hairstyling, cutting and
chemical treatments *but not one hour is spent on the art of
- the only service hairbraiders would provide. 

"This is another example of the state bureaucracy keeping Californians
from utilizing their talents and stifling the entrepreneurial spirit of
individuals," says Haynes. "The current practice unnecessarily forces
many individuals who choose to practice their profession underground. In
essence, we are making criminals out of the very citizens we should be
applauding for the economic contributions they are making to their

SB 235 passed the Senate Business and Professions Committee on a 6-0
vote and will next be heard before the full Senate. 

...AND THE BAD VERSION! Testifying before the Assembly committee on AB
132, the author, Carole Migden, explained her bill intends to exclude
hairbraiding from the definition of cosmetology by creating a new
regulatory agency to oversee hairbraiding exclusively. One bill only
transfers the regulatory responsibility, whereas the other bill
deregulates hairbraiding altogether. 

In a prepared statement, the American Hairbraiders & Natural Hair Care
Association critically questioned Migden's motives: "It has become
painfully obvious to us, that it was never the intention of
Assemblywoman Migden to exempt African-style hairbraiders from
California's cosmetology act. She knew we would never sign onto a bill
claiming any regulatory authority over a cultural and traditional art
form; so (she) has concocted a scheme with some of her Democratic
colleagues to impose oversight. 

"Further, her covert racist insensitivities shows not only a lack of
understanding to our concerns, but a lack of political maturity. Her
ill-advised threats to 'remove (us) from the table' reveals overtones of
unbridled emotion and a disturbed mentality of a master to a slave. 
*"African-Americans will no longer act as lackeys for a *Democratic
Party *that makes empty promises; frigid, unconscionable *commitments,
with no *results. We will no longer accept crumbs from the table.
*Inviting us to *the table does not make us a diner." 

Dealing with this issue at all illustrates how hair-brained government
intrusion has become in our everyday lives. This debate also reveals the
wide chasm between the two major parties: One trusting the individual in
the pursuit of happiness, the other believing that government activism
is always necessary before its subjects can be happy.

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