Bill that would eliminate requirement for natural hair stylists to get license dies

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A bill that would eliminate the need for licensing for natural hair care professionals is dead.

The measure has been splitting hairs in the Tennessee Legislature for weeks.

Representative Antonio Parkinson made the announcement this morning in front of a crowd of local hair stylists and barbers.

"I am here to announce that house bill 1809 and Senate bill 233 is officially dead! Cheers," Rep. Parkinson said.

It's a move many hair professionals have been fighting across the state.

"Had this bill passed, it would have damaged our profession, like tremendously. Not only in the natural hair care, I know I'm a natural hair stylist. But combining the cost and barbering, that would have been detrimental to our profession," natural hair stylist, Yvette Granger said.

If that bill passed, natural hair stylists would not have been required to follow the sanitation and safety rules the state cosmetology board sets forth.

That's something these hair professionals say is not right and puts customers at risk.

"I feel like if you are doing work in the community, you need to be licensed and certified," Granger said.

"If I'm not moving my hands right, and I'm not cleaning my tools right, and you have some kind of infection in your scalp - and I take that same tool and put it in someone else's hair, now they have a disease," she said.

"We even use boiling hot water. If you're not trained in how to dip and manipulate their hair, you can burn, not only people, but children," Granger said.

Rep. Parkinson says now that the bill is dead, it is time to push forward legislation that will protect consumers.

"We need to make sure there is a complaint line visibly posted in every salon, and if we can get the braiding salons online then we will make sure that is posted also," he said.

The bill would have also combined barbering and cosmetology into one licensed trade.

Something industry experts call ridiculous since they both have very different training standards.