A license for hair braiding?





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Uploaded on Sep 26, 2011

Should Utahns have to obtain a state license to do landscape architecture, paint nails or braid hair? The state currently requires professionals in these fields, and many others, to obtain a license to work here legally. Some state legislators would like to do away with these rules.

Here's the script for the video:

STAND UP: Did you know you have to get a professional license to braid hair or install burglar alarms? And that you must get 2,000 hours in training for a license to cut hair? Representative Holly Richardson explains how professional licensing by the state of Utah has gone too far.

REPRESENTATIVE HOLLY RICHARDSON: "Some of the licenses might be necessary, but parts of them certainly go broader than they need to. So requiring a license to braid hair, for example, or even to do simple eyelash extensions, those are some of the things that have ended up being licensed in the state of Utah. The reality is a license does not increase safety; it does not increase competence; all it does is show you were able to pass a test somewhere at sometime."

VOICE-OVER: The director of Cameo College of Essential Beauty and the legislative chair for Utah Cosmetology, Brenda Scharman, says the education required for a beauty license is vital for the public's safety.

BRENDA SCHARMAN: "I think I'll use the analogy of a doctor. Does it take eight years to learn how to treat a common cold? Does a dentist have to take six or eight years of education to learn how to clean teeth, no? It's protecting the public; it's the entire profession. Do we want to start pulling bits and pieces out? That's when professions fall apart."

VOICE-OVER: So why do some professions push for state licensing in the first place? Is it to keep the competition out?

RICHARDSON: "I do think that's it; I think that's actually the number one reason that we look to license. People say that it's about public safety, but I think the bottom line truly is it's a turf war, and if you can license and keep everybody else out, then you win. And so it's a government sanctioned monopoly, which I think is problematic."

VOICE-OVER: Brenda Scharman is one who believes licensing of professions is all about public safety; she gives an example of why beauticians doing eyelash extensions should be required to have a license.

SCHARMAN: "You're dealing with a glue, a glue that is very caustic. If it touches the skin it creates an allergic reaction; if it gets on the eyeball it creates a corneal abrasion. It's very dangerous. I have photos and stories of people that can go on forever where people have lost their eye lashes permanently."

VOICE-OVER: Greg Hughes, the co-chairman of the occupational and professional licensure review committee, explains he too is a believer of the free market but is very diligent in reviewing potential licenses.

REPRESENTATIVE GREG HUGHES: "In tough economies, we want people participating in this economy. We want people to be able to turn a dollar and open businesses, and we don't want the state to get in the way of that. Where safety and welfare are potential issues, we need to be very sensitive of that and really look at those. But braiding hair is a perfect example where I don't think you need the state's seal of approval to braid hair."

VOICE-OVER: So what's a better way for the state of Utah to go about professional licensing?

RICHARDSON: "I think there's ways to look at having volunteer licensures and let the market dictate then who you go to. If you have a voluntary license to do somebody's hair, you can choose to go to somebody who's not licensed and not have any ramifications for you or the person who's doing your hair."

VOICE-OVER: But Ms. Scharman is opposed to the idea.

SCHARMAN: "Let's say that licensing was voluntary in the state of Utah. That would limit them from ever moving; they would not be able to move into any other state. There's a reason for licensing -- every single state in the entire U.S. has licensing, so there's a reason for it, obviously."

VOICE-OVER: So if the state did move to a voluntary licensing system, how would this benefit Utahns?

RICHARDSON: "The more you get to the free market -- meaning people can actually choose; they can make their choice based on free market principles -- then I think the better it is for all Utahns."

VOICE-OVER: Remember, all public policy changes lives. For Sutherland Institute, I'm Alexis Young.


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