New Jersey braiders no longer have to worry about getting arrested for braiding hair. With just a week’s worth of classes, braiders can get a speciality license to practice their craft without fear of facing fines or criminal charge.
The new law (A-3754), passed October 4, reduces the number of required training hours from 1,200 for a full cosmetology license to just 40 to 50 hours, based on experience. In addition, all prior fines, fees and penalties for unlicensed braiding will be waived.
“The new braiding license is a dramatic improvement over New Jersey’s incredibly burdensome requirement that forced braiders to waste their time and money to attend cosmetology schools, which most often don’t even teach African-style braiding,” said Brooke Fallon, assistant director of activism at the Institute for Justice. “We hope that this bill will mean an end to the raids and heavy fines that have been inflicted on too many braiders in communities of color. ”
New Jersey is now the 26th state to reduce or remove cumbersome restrictions. The move comes a little over a month after the state’s governor vetoed a bill that would have completely eliminated licensing requirements. The new license will enable braiders to certify knowledge of much-needed healthy and safety regulations.
“We want to support entrepreneurship. I also agree with Gov. Murphy that safeguarding consumer protections is important,” said Assemblywoman Angela V. McKnight. “This law addresses these concerns by reducing the requirements for hair braiders and by including experienced hair braiders in the Board of Cosmetology and Hairstyling.”
The new law isn’t all peachy, however. It comes with some caveats, including only opening up courses to braiders who have finished high school or have a GED — which could effectively lock out African immigrants at local braiding salons.
In addition, the New Jersey Board of Cosmetology and Hairstyling will be expanded from 11 to 13 members to include “individuals with experience owning and operating hair braiding establishments.”
We called the board and were advised that new law will take about three months to implement, so there is no word yet on how much the new licensure costs or how to take classes. We’ll update as information becomes available. In the meantime, for more information, head on over to njconsumeraffairs.gov/cos.