House subcommittee hears bills on cosmetology licensing in Georgia
On Tuesday, the House Regulated Industries Regulatory Subcommittee met for a hearing to discuss two bills relating to the cosmetology licensing procedures in Georgia.
The first bill presented was the Niche-Beauty Services Opportunity Act. This bill would exempt beauty services, like blow drying, styling, hair braiding, threading and makeup application from licensing.
Sponsor of House Bill 212, Republican Rep. David Jenkins, representing District 136, describes the demographics that would benefit from the premise of this bill.
“This bill provides opportunities for niche beauty service entrepreneurs, but specifically it helps women,” Jenkins said. “It helps single moms who do not have a higher education and can’t afford it. It helps people of color and immigrant communities; threaders are commonly immigrants from South Asia and the Middle East.”
According to the Georgia State Board of Cosmetology and Barbers, the licenses Georgians can apply for after graduating cosmetology or barber school, or after completing an apprenticeship program include: master cosmetologist, hair designer, esthetician, nail technician, master barber, barber II, master cosmetology instructor, hair design instructor, esthetician instructor, nail technician instructor, and barber instructor.
Jenkins explained to the committee that under the state’s current cosmetology laws, cosmetologists are required to have at least one of three licenses to provide services. He argues that the required 1,000 to 1,500 hours of training and money spent on schooling for licenses creates a barrier for poorer people, who, once they graduate, find “their income expectations aren’t any higher than a concierge or a waiter or waitress.”
“It’s an enormous investment with not a lot of return,” Jenkins said before the committee. “This bill exempts the safe limited scopes of services from this overbearing licensing requirement. This is about letting Georgians work and provide for their families."
The bill was opposed by Kay Kendrick, who serves on the Georgia State Board of Cosmetology and Barbers as the chair and is a master cosmetologist who has been in the industry for 45 years. She said her opposition was due to the potential dangers that could take place in deregulating any of the cosmetology industry.
“The biggest consumer problem we have is the spread of diseases and disorders," she said. "And there is no way if you’re not licensed — if you’re not trained in bacteriology, infection control, sanitation and disinfectant — you can protect the consumers in the state of Georgia."
Kendrick also said, “If the legislative body is so intent on making another small license that we carve out for women that just want to blow dry and style hair, they can be trained to use the blow dryers and the irons properly. The board is willing to do that.”
The second bill was House Bill 154, also known as the Cosmetology Licensure Compact. This legislation looks to provide cosmetology licenses with opportunities for multi-state practices. It is an occupation licensing interstate compact, which are legally binding agreements among states.
Under the compact cosmetologist will be able to get multi-state licenses in order to practice in all states that are a part of the compact instead of getting an individual license in every state they want to practice in.
Sponsor of the bill, Democratic Rep. Sandra Scott, representing District 76, is a retired Army veteran who says the bill would support military families and encourage workplace development by reducing licensing burdens.
“As a military veteran, I know that every two to five years, we are relocating somewhere else and if we have a cosmetology license in one state and come to another member state that has a cosmetology license, I think that it would be beneficial to the service members as well as others when they come to the state that have that compact and move from one place to another,” Scott said.
The Cosmetology Licensure Compact will benefit military families by allowing active military personnel or their spouses to designate a home state and keep that designation as long as the service member is on duty.
In the event that a military member or their spouse are moved to a new duty station in a compact member state, they can continue practicing with their current compact license; if they are assigned to a new station outside of a compact member state, they don’t lose access to the compact but would have to apply for a single state license in the new state if they wish to continue practicing in that state.
The next steps for both the Niche-Beauty Services Opportunity Act and Cosmetology Licensure Compact bills are for them to be approved by the House Regulated Industries Regulatory Subcommittee.