Backed by Rep. Jena Powell (R-Arcanum), the bill is supposedly set to help students in the profession pay off bills faster by becoming licensed faster. This would put more of them in the field with less debt.
Representative Powell cites three reasons for the bill: less debt for beauty students, a continuous workforce development for salons, and reduced “unnecessary” regulations within the industry.
“I am on a mission to make Ohio the most business-friendly state in the nation. One of the biggest steps we can take in that direction is to stop overregulating individuals in our state.”
Sue Carter Moore, president of the Ohio Association of Cosmetology Schools, argues that students want the greater requirement because it lends more credibility to their license. In the states bordering Ohio, the requirements are similar to current laws. If changed, Ohio’s cosmetologists and barbers will have less experience than in her border states. This could significantly affect their ability to find work outside the state without more time and money spent.
Across the board, Republicans are trying to reduce licensing and certification requirements. They are looking for reciprocity with other states in order to increase Ohio’s attractiveness as a location for people who are moving or changing careers.
Modeled after laws passed in Arizona and Pennsylvania, proposed legislation would make it easier for employers in to find licensed professionals from out of state. If the individual has held a license for a certain amount of time in Ohio, the credibility will overlap into other states.
The requirements are changing from:
– Cosmetology License: 1,500 hours to 1,000 hours
– Barber License: 1,800 hours to 1,000 hours
– Hair Stylist License: 1,200 hours to 800 hours
It also would allow for distance learning and increased flexibility for students by permitting work outside a salon.
However, those professionals might not be fully qualified if bill 399 is passed. According to a petition at the website protectmyprofession.com, the new requirements (or lack thereof) could jeopardize the skills of those coming out of school. It claims that removing that many training hours is damaging to cosmetologists in Ohio because while the cost remains the same, half of the education is missing. The bill would create an apprenticeship program with significantly fewer standards for curriculum, educators, and accountability than the current system.
The measure is backed by Americans for Prosperity-Ohio, NFIB Ohio, and the Buckeye Institute. It remains to be seen what kind of impact the legislation will have on students of cosmetology or future barbers.
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Allegra Thatcher is a reporter at The Ohio Star.