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New Jersey Legislature Eliminates Overburdensome Licensing Requirement for Hair Braiders

Jan 10, 2019 by AFP

Thanks to activists’ tireless work educating state legislators about occupational licensing, the legislature unanimously passed a bill eliminating an overburdensome licensing requirement for hair braiders.

In New Jersey, hair braiders, many of whom are low-income women serving minority communities, were required to take 1,200 hours of cosmetology classes (which can cost upwards of $20,000!), even though many cosmetology schools don’t teach hair braiding. Braiders operating without a license could be fined as much as $10,000.

Getting every legislator to support this legislation was a significant victory for AFP. For years, activists have been trying to build support for tearing down this barrier in the legislature. While Gov. Murphy unfortunately vetoed the bill, he signed a substitute proposal that will significantly reduce barriers for hair braiders in the future.