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TRENTON, N.J. – Americans for Prosperity-New Jersey (AFP-NJ) on Thursday applauded the New Jersey General Assembly for passing A-3754, legislation that would help hair braiders get to work without first having to obtain burdensome occupational licenses. The Garden State currently requires aspiring hair braiders to complete 1,200 hours of unrelated cosmetology training and pay upward of $17,000 in order to receive a license and work. AFP-NJ has long been at the forefront of opposing unnecessary occupational licenses without a compelling public need. The group now urges the Senate to swiftly approve the bill.
“This bill empowers those with a passionate commitment to the American dream and mastery in a beloved cultural trade to earn a living and support their family without first obtaining a government permission slip. This is a small but important step toward untangling would-be entrepreneurs from unnecessarily onerous regulations that serve only to limit economy opportunity,” said Americans for Prosperity-New Jersey State Director Erica Jedynak. “Occupational licenses should only exist to protect the health and safety of the public, not protect certain industries from competition, and we urge swift approval of this bill in the Senate.”
Current New Jersey occupational licensing laws force hair braiders to spend thousands of dollars on arbitrary requirements to open for business. Many of the women affected by these requirements are West African immigrants who began braiding hair at a young age as part of their culture. Paying the money to go to cosmetology school and taking the time off work to do so is not a realistic option.
Since 2016, Americans for Prosperity – New Jersey has been fighting on behalf of these hair braiders, alongside the Institute for Justice. As a result of its efforts, the legislature is expected to vote soon on legislation (S-2510/A-3754) that would exempt hair braiders from onerous licensing.