WICHITA FALLS, TX (TNN) - A Texas house bill would abolish the requirement for barbers and cosmetologists to have a license. Professionals are speaking out against it.
Byron lacy has been a barber for nearly two decades and has teaches other to become one at the Wichita Falls Barber Academy.
Lacy tells his students all that time that being a barber is much more than knowing how to cut hair.
“Certain clients come in with different types of diseases. If they have a ring worm or something, you know what you’re looking at and you know the proper steps of telling them how to treat that or telling them where to go to get it treated,” he said.
That necessary training is why he is firmly against the Texas house bill that would allow barbers to operate without a license.
“It's a disservice to people that want to have a professional job done,” he said of the legislation.
The bill would do the same for those in the cosmetology field.
Lyn Doan has been a hairdresser for decades and feels the bill does not even have a chance of being passed because there would be an uproar from professionals.
“That's just impossible, I don't think that would ever go through,” she said.
Doan is also an instructor for the cosmetology program at Burkburnett High School which just received a new facility.
She also agrees that the safety of customers is something that can only truly be learned with training, and she siad the skills she teaches her students can take years to master.
“Just color theory alone takes hair dressers a long time just to understand the process. You can do it at home – everybody is going to walk around with orange hair – but it’s us, hairdressers, that know how to tone it.”
Representative Matt Shaheen filed the HB 1705. He said in a statement to News Channel 6:
“The legislation was created to expand employment opportunities by eliminating unnecessary occupational licenses. I have always made public safety a priority, and I fully support various occupational licenses in our state that are required to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the public. Cosmetology is a field in which the consumer can be trusted to seek out the best service provider without any serious risk of harm. There are several vocations in Texas that pertain to aspects of public safety like car mechanics, personal trainers, and electrologists that are not required by the state to be licensed. It is shocking that the average EMT is required to complete 120-150 hours of training on average whereas cosmetologists are required to complete 1500 hours of training. Texans that are willing to join the workforce and compete - especially low income Texans looking to improve their lives - should face the fewest obstacles possible, and by requiring a cosmetology license, we’re creating unnecessary obstacles for those who want to earn a living. For current students, this enables them to enter the workforce quickly and earn a living sooner. It also prevents future students from incurring massive debt because they won’t have to meet arbitrarily established state licensing requirements.”
Doan, however, is urging the representative to reconsider his stance, “Would you just sit down and just let anyone cut your hair? Or, would you allow your daughters, or your wife go out and just have anybody do their hair? I don't think so. Are you just going to let anybody cook you food, and eat it, and not know if the kitchen is clean or not? I mean this is ridiculous, I've never heard of such a thing.”
Both Lacy and Doan feel if the bill were to become law it would also lead to the state losing money from students choosing to no longer go to school to learn how to become professionals.
If HB 1705 becomes law it would take effect in September 2019.