What to Know
A New Jersey rule that requires hair braiders to secure a license is threatening the livelihood of hundreds of braiders, they say
Many braiders say they work under constant threat of fines or arrest and hope to see the rule eliminated
A bill that would have eliminated the requirement was conditionally vetoed, but its sponsors plan to reintroduce it
A New Jersey rule that requires hair braiders to secure a cosmetology license is threatening the livelihoods of hundreds of experienced braiders, they say.
Gov. Phil Murphy on Monday conditionally vetoed a bill that would have exempted braiders from the licensing requirement needed to work in African hair braiding shops.
But braiders in New Jersey — many of whom are unlicensed — say they work under constant threat of fines or arrest and hope to see the rule eliminated.
Tuition for schools that offer the required 1,200 hours of training needed to secure a license can cost more than $17,000, an amount of time and money many braiders say is unreasonable.
Many cosmetology schools don’t even teach braiding, a number of braiders said.
“I had to fly all the way to Florida to get the license,” one braider told News 4 New York. “And… I try to use it here, they don’t allow me to use it here.”
Explaining his veto of the bill, Murphy said he “want[ed] to ensure that, by rolling back regulatory requirements for hair braiders, we do not expose those who use hair braiding services to harm.”
He suggested reducing training to a maximum of 40 hours for experienced hair braiders and 50 hours for inexperienced ones. He also suggested adding two experienced hair braiders to the New Jersey State Board of Cosmetology and Hairstyling.
The bill’s sponsors hope to reintroduce it in September.