Texas’ war on hair braiding certification has reached a verdict. Last Thursday, the Texas House of Representatives passed the HB 2717 bill that will deregulate natural hair braiders. Before the HB 2717 was passed, braiders would have to graduate from either barber or cosmetology school, complete a government-approved 35-hour hair braiding course, had to have a state license, among other regulations, or they were at risk of being arrested. However one of the many issues with that asinine law was that Texas didn’t have barber college for hair braiding in the state.
The constitutional fight against the Texas law was led by Isis Brantley and the Institute for Justice. Owner of the Institute of Ancestral Braiding and founder of the Naturally Isis Natural Hair Parade and Festival, Brantley was arrested in 1997 for braiding hair without a special government license. And when Texas officials put hair braiding into the state’s barbering and cosmetology schools in 2007, they further blocked her from prevailing in her craft by preventing her from teaching hair braiding for a living.
The IFJ argued that the government shouldn’t regulate this more than 5,000 years old safe practice that was “deeply rooted in African cultural heritage and carries with it significant historical importance.”
“This vote by the Texas House means aspiring hair braiders from across the state are one step closer to being able to practice an ancestral art that dates back centuries, and do so without a government permission slip,” said Brantley.
Arif Panju, attorney with the Institute for Justice’s (IFJ) Texas office added, “This vote by the Texas House is a victory for natural hair braiders across the state and serves as recognition that economic liberty must be protected not only by courts, but by legislatures.
To read more on the bill visit: ij.org/TXBraiding