Utah cosmetologists protest against bill to loosen license requirements

Posted at 8:52 PM, Jan 31, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-31 23:41:00-05

SALT LAKE CITY — Cosmetologists in Utah are fighting back against state legislation aimed at loosening restrictions for certain hairstylists.

Senate Bill 87 creates a license exception for someone who dries, styles, arranges, dresses, curls, hot irons, shampoos or conditions hair.

The legislation is concerning to those who work in the industry.

“I had to go through 1600 hours of school, which honestly wasn’t enough,” said Devin Johnson, a licensed cosmetologist. “It’s absolutely an abomination. It’s not only an insult, but it's impractical. We are in a global pandemic and you are going to deregulate businesses who touch people.”

Johnson was one of dozens of people holding signs and chanting against the bill.

The protesters gathered outside the Salt Lake City-County Building.

“It’s a huge slap in the face,” said Kathy Lynch, a hairstylist for more than 30 years. “The general public probably doesn’t realize how many things we are trained in.”

Those opposed to the bill believe lifting requirements for a license will create health and safety issues.

The bill is supported by the Libertas Group.

A statement on the group’s website says in part, “Requiring 1,600 hours of classes at a cosmetology school does not make sense for all situations.”

Libertas argues that the current requirements create a burden for those in certain jobs by forcing people to pay for classes they do not need.

S.B. 87 passed in the Senate by a vote of 21-8. It now heads to the House.

Click here to read the full text of the bill.