Hairstylists battle de-licensing bill

Kendra Rhonemus
The Statehouse File

Cosmetologists listen to a committee hearing over House Bill 1006. The bill would remove state-mandated licensing requirements for hairdressers and barbers. Photo by Abigail Godwin, The Statehouse File.

INDIANAPOLIS – Hundreds of hairstylists came to the Statehouse Friday to fight a bill that would deregulate their profession.  Lawmakers said later there voices were heard.

The cosmetologists oppose House Bill 1006, authored by Rep. David Wolkins, R-Winona Lake. The legislation will eliminate their professional licensing boards as well as the boards for dieticians, hearing aid dealers, private investigator firms and security guards.

Sharida Burkholder, owner of Paul Mitchell School in Indianapolis, told the Employment, Labor and Pensions Committee that stylists need to be professionally trained and licensed.

Burkholder told lawmakers she wished she been able to get a pair of scissors past the Statehouse security officials.

She then pointed to one Democratic committee member and said she would have given him the scissors. Then she pointed to Wolkins said she’d have had the Democrat cut his hair.

“You think he’d be happy?” she asked. “I don’t think so.”

That brought a laugh from a lively crowd, many of which sported Paul Mitchell t-shirts.

Rep David Wolking, R-Winona Lake, defends his bill in a House committee hearing Friday morning. The bill, House Bill 1006, would eliminate state-mandated professional licensing requirements for cosmetologists. Photo by Abigail Godwin, The Statehouse File.

Wolkins authored the bill after a legislatively appointed group – the Regulated Occupation Evaluations Committee – studied licensing issues last year. The group recommended the elimination of the cosmetology and other licensing boards.

“The approach that we’ve developed, which is on the IPLA website which you can look at, is a risk analysis framework where we asked that the consumer can make a good decision with or without the availability of a licensing function.” said John Graham, dean of the Indiana University’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs.

But cosmetologists said Friday that the chemicals they work with and the sanitation issues mean no novice should be working on people’s hair and nails.

“A cosmetologist does not just cut hair,” said Diana Kelley, who works at a JCPenney styling salon. “A cosmetologist is trained to detect when not to serve a client. We are trained not only in technique but also in anatomy, bacteriology, physiology, chemistry, and in infectious diseases. We learn how to recognize ring worm, head lice, and contagious diseases.”

Testimony lasted nearly 2-1/2 hours and afterwards, lawmakers understood the opponents’ concerns. Still, Wolkins said he would not kill the bill. He said the General Assembly asked the study committee to make recommendations and lawmakers should vote them up or down.

After the meeting, the committee’s chairman, Rep. Douglas Gutwein, R-Francesville, said he enjoyed the meeting and those who testified.

“These people, they have all gone to school for these various trades,” Gutwein said. “”I think they have a right to be heard and they were heard today and I think they were heard awfully well.”

The committee did not vote and is scheduled to talk about the bill again on Tuesday.

Kendra Rhonemus is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.

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6 Responses to Hairstylists battle de-licensing bill

  1. I don’t understand why no ones talking about estheticians. I’m a licensed esthetician in Indiana and I’m against it too, apparently no one else wants to bring it up, so I am! NO ONE SHOULD BE DOING SKINCARE WITHOUT A LICENSE!!! YOU CAN KILL SOMEONE IF NOT TRAINED RIGHT! Not to mention ruin someone skin, brows, etc. I have a second degree burn from an esthetician who WAS licensed, imagine someone not with a license!

    • No one’s talking about estheticians because they aren’t at the state house taking a stand and being loud about the issue. The bill included a lot of professions including Dieticians. Cosmetologists seem to be the only group that’s rallied on the issue to make a statement against it.

      • Well as I said, Im standing up for the Estheticians, however, shouldnt ALL COSMOTOLOGISTS be concered about this?? Esthetic services effect YOUR clients also!

  2. Pingback: Hairstylists battle de-licensing bill | Michiana Voice

  3. La'Ceysha Fields

    I feel as if cosometology should be broke down into the course that you want to take. For instance instead of taking it away break it down. I am a person who has been batteling with beauty school for about ten years now. Why,the whole thing about a 9-5 with no pay doesnt help me take care of my child. i think that they should have a hairstyling course that should only take about anywhere from 600 to 700 hours. Im not into the whole esthetician course. I only like to style hair. There should be a course for all the steps in the cosometology. Just as they have in the medical field.

  4. Here we go again politicians need something to do so pick on hard working cosmetologist…. Why don’t you go out and let a homeless person who is standing on the corner cut,color or perm your hair or your wife’s hair… See how it turns out… We have enough competition in this field… we are trained PROFESSIONALS.we know more about this subject than any of you politicians. Why don’t you focus on things that need fixed and leave us professionals alone so we can do our jobs…

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