Another state has won the battle against extensive braiding license requirements. Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo signed a bill (HB 5677) last week Monday to exempt braiders from needing government permission or a full cosmetology license in order to legally braid.
“After years of fighting for this reform, I’m thrilled braiders in my state can finally work out of the shadows and build businesses without wasting thousands of hours and dollars learning practices they don’t do, like coloring, blow-drying and cutting,” said Rep. Anastasia Williams (D-District 9, Providence), who sponsored the bill.
This makes Rhode Island the 28th state to deregulate requirements over the past few years, including Minnesota and North Dakota. Grassroots group Rhode Island Freedom Braiders (RIFB) and Institute for Justice (IJ), which has filed a dozen lawsuits on behalf of natural hair braiders, were strong supporters of the bill.
“We never stopped trying, even when it seemed like the odds were against us; this victory shows progress heading in the right direction both economically as well as culturally,” said Jocelyn DoCouto of Pawtucket, a hair braider and RIFB leader.
“This is a great win for entrepreneurship, economic liberty, and just plain common sense,” said Christina Walsh, director of activism and coalitions for IJ.