After a long and grueling election season, I’m tired.
Tired of beating my head against a wall.
Tired of watching good people make bad choices.
Tired of being beat up for taking a stand.
Tired of feeling like no matter what I do, it’s “Same song, 2nd verse” – or 6th, or 10th, or 40th.
After November 6, I took some time off. Read. Played with the kids. Went to the movies. Even went to the dentist. I did NOT go to interim day on Utah’s Capitol Hill last week – but I should have.
“Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom.”
We’ve all heard that quote, right?
It can conjur up mighty images of the battlefield, of Patrick Henry and his impassioned speech, of fighting for freedom in the fields of Gettysburg. More recently, it might bring to mind presidential elections and unelected czars, a fiscal cliff and partisan gridlock.
As it turns out, it applies to the state legislature and little things like hair braiding as much as it does our federal politics. (Dang it. I already knew that….)
In the Business and Labor committee on Wednesday,a bill was passed unanimously, by the legislators who were there. This bill creates – and requires – licensure for hair-braiders in the state of Utah. In fact, it creates two levels of hair-braiders (regular and advanced), adds in hair-braiding apprenticeships (800 hours or more) and creates a brand-new concept of a hair-braiding school. Imagine that.
The committee did manage to exempt “natural” hair braiding, but if you want to add extensions or even just beads, well, you’re out of luck. (Of course, if you don’t charge, then there is no problem because it is OBVIOUSLY the exchange of money that makes the practice dangerous, right?)
Because it passed unanimously, the bill will be introduced during the upcoming legislative session as a committee bill, bypassing additional committee hearings and having very limited floor discussion.
It was sad to hear the only person who testified for the bill (no one knew it was coming up – that eternal vigilance thing biting us in the butt) was the lobbyist for the cosmetology schools. She said that “we” had worked out a “deal” after the last legislative session. “Who’s the we,” you might ask. That would be the owner of a chain of beauty schools, said lobbyist and the sponsor of the bill. That’s appears to be it. There certainly was no outreach to the people who oppose licensing hair braiding in its entirety.
Some people have asked who is behind the push to license hair braiding. The answer is simple: Follow the money. If you as the owner of a beauty school – or even better, a chain of them – can get the government to require any and all persons who want to practice ANY part of your government-sanctioned monopoly, you can laugh it up all the way to the bank. If this bill passes, then if you want to legally braid hair with beads ala Cleopatra, you need HUNDREDS of hours of training – and that’s the bare minimum. Failure to comply? A fine of up to $1000 for the first offense, up to $2000 for EACH subsequent offense. And ps: even if you’ve been doing “advanced” hair braiding since you were 5, not only can you no longer do it, you can’t teach it to others, either.
If that weren’t enough, the committee threw in another little bonus for the cosmetology schools: eyelashes. Want ’em done? Gotta go to a state-licensed school to learn a whole bunch of stuff you’ll never use but hey! Big brother knows best, even in Utah.
Way to shut down cottage businesses, guys. All that free-market stuff only applies prior to the first Tuesday in November, is that it?
I’m so disappointed. And I just don’t get it. We have good people in the legislature, but this is a mighty bad decision.
Back to my opening statement.
Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom. Even when you’re tired.
See you on the Hill.
UPDATE: In speaking with the bill sponsor, Jim Dunnigan, he was clear that a 600-hr license and a 300-hr license ARE a move in the right direction and that even if “hair braiding” is not in the current statute, the definitions of “twisting, locking, weaving” mean that it IS included. Certainly DOPL considers it part of the current licensure. From that perspective – which I understand – he’s right that 600 hours and 300 hours are less than 2000 hours. I still think it’s 300 and 600 hours too many. We’re working on that…..