Minnesota Untangles Themselves From Economic Oppression Against Natural Hair Braiders

June 7, 2019  |  

Portrait of a smiling afro woman on colorful background

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Minnesota joins the ranks of 26th other states, becoming the 27th state to no longer require natural hair braiders to have a license. This hair braiding law has often been thought of discriminatory as most hair braiders are not of high socio-economic status. The former law required braiders to not only complete a 30 hour course, but also pay a $20.00 fee before they could practice their craft. A craft that most hair braiders have been doing for as long as they can remember.

However, thanks to omnibus budget bill signed by Gov. Tim Walz, the bill officially passed at the end of May. The authors of the bill included Republican Senator Mary Kiffmeyer, Republican Senator Mark Koran, Republican Senator Bruce Anderson, and Democratic Farmer Labor Party Senator Jim Carlson. Under SF 10, braiders no longer have any occupational and facility licensing requirements. Other states including Iowa, South Dakota, and North Dakota have also banned this law.

Institute for Justice Legislative Counsel Meagan Forbes, who testified in favor of the bill, stated, “This is a great win for entrepreneurship, economic liberty and just plain common sense.” She added, “The government has no business licensing something as safe and common as braiding hair.”

This repeal ends a 14-year-long battle to end licensing for braiders in Minessota. In 2005, the Institute for Justice successfully sued the Minnesota Board of Barber and Cosmetologist Examiners, which at the time forced hair braiders to complete a 1,550 hours (no, that wasn’t a typo) of cosmetology training before they could work. This is over two months of time, which inhibits people from being able to work. While this is understandable for cosmetologists, who use harsh chemicals and dyes, hair braiders do not cut hair or use any kind of chemicals.

In 2007, the state legislature amended the law by creating a 30-hour speciality license, which was successfully repealed in May. Prior to the reform, around 200 braiders had registered with the state and taken the course. Complying with the course, meant losing a full week of work, which often is not feasible to hair braiders who are working and living paycheck to paycheck.

Minneapolis based hair braider, Lillian Anderson, who was influential and the lead plaintiff in IJ’s lawsuit, stated, “SF 10 will expand economic opportunity, especially for female entrepreneurs and people of color.”

We hope that more states take the lead and that this law is banned in America!


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