The Missouri House voted Tuesday evening in Jefferson City to give initial approval to legislation to reduce hair braiding regulations.
Under legislation from State Rep. Shamed Dogan, R-Ballwin, those who braid hair for profit would not need to obtain a cosmetology license.
The Ballwin Republican tells the House it takes more training in Missouri to braid hair than it does to become a police officer.
“Right now in the state of Missouri, if you wish to practice as a hair braider, you have to have 1,500 hours of training to obtain a cosmetology license, which does not teach hair braiding,” Dogan says.
The House approved Dogan’s bill in a voice vote. One more vote is required, before the bill heads to the Missouri Senate.
“In substance what this bill does is it gets the government out of people’s hair,” says Dogan. “That’s what we’re here to do today.”
Dogan’s bill prevents political subdivisions from requiring a licensed barber or cosmetologist to obtain a business license.
Bill opponents want the State Board of Cosmetology to have the authority to investigate complaints against registered hair braiders.
The Missouri Association of Cosmetology Schools testified against the bill this month.
Meantime, Governor Eric Greitens’ 2015 affair with a hairdresser was discussed on the Missouri House floor Tuesday evening, during the hair braiding bill debate.
State Rep. Mike Butler, D-St. Louis, brought the issue up to bill sponsor Dogan.
“Are you all worried that the governor is going to sign this since his girlfriend was a hairdresser?” Butler asked Dogan.
“I don’t know what that has to do with this (bill),” Dogan responded.
“Have you talked to the governor’s office about this bill at all?”, Butler asked.
“Not this year I haven’t,” Dogan says.
In the end, Dogan’s bill had bipartisan support, including from Representative Butler.
Supporters say the bill promotes economic development. Opponents want better protections against the spread of infection.