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New Hairstylist Licensing Bill Creating Controversy On Capitol Hill

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Hair, and who can style it, is creating quite the buzz at the Utah Capitol.

Senate bill 87, which would trim some of the licensing requirements for certain services, is facing some harsh opposition from the beauty industry. Others, including the bill sponsor, said this is just the beginning of taking a closer look at licensing laws.

Right now, if you want to get your hair washed and styled by a professional, they are required, under state law, to have a cosmetology license — something that costs thousands of dollars and requires 1,600 hours of training.

One Utah man believes that is ridiculous. He believes anyone should be able to do that.

Not everyone agrees.

“Styling hair is not special knowledge. It’s something that the layperson knows how to do. We do our own all the time and so for that reason, SB87 makes a lot of sense,” said Connor Boyak with The Libertas Institute.

Boyak’s comment was offensive to some in the beauty industry, including Kathy Lynch, who have spent 1,600 hours and thousands of dollars to get and maintain her cosmetology licenses.

“Part of learning cosmetology is learning about infectious diseases and things that can be wrong with the scalp,” said Lynch, who has had a license for 35 years.

Amy Finnegan, who owns Wild Ivy Blow Dry Bar in American Fork, agreed with Lynch and strongly opposes the bill that eliminates licensing requirements for stylists who do exactly what the bill claims to be protecting.

“I am surprised that anyone in the industry would actually push for a bill like this when they know sanitation is so important,” Finnegan said.

Rep. Candice Pierucci, R-Herriman, is the floor sponsor of the bill. She said this isn’t meant as an attack — it’s meant to implement an executive order from Gov. Spencer Cox to look into licensing laws and determine where there is government overreach.

“The impetus for this is looking at how often government overregulates industries and businesses,” said Pierucci who added more bills, like this for other industries are around the corner.

Regardless of what happens, Finnegan said things at Wild Ivy won’t change.

“Wild Ivy Blow Dry Bar will continue to hire only licensed cosmetologists because we feel that is the integrity of our salon. It’s our liability and we want our clients to feel safe,” Finnegan said.

SB87 has three major hurdles to pass before it would go to Cox’s desk to be signed into law.

KSL 5 TV Live

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