Professionals from the barbering and cosmetology industry plan to gather Wednesday, June 23 in Riverside to protest a bill they say would lower industry standards and allow unlicensed people to cut hair.
They will converge on the office of state Sen. Richard Roth, D-Riverside, who authored Senate Bill 803. The legislation would amend the Barbering and Cosmetology Act, which provides for the licensing and regulation of barbers and cosmetologists by the State Board of Barbering and Cosmetology.
The legislation proposes few adjustments in regard to training for cosmetology and skin and nail care, but those working in the barbering industry are not happy.
SB 803 is designed to remove barriers for people who want to enter the industry. Opponents say it would allow unlicensed entrepreneurs to cut people’s hair while also doing away with many of the regulations that govern the operation of mobile hair-cutting units.
Mark Moreno, who owns Jazz-Z Beauty and Barber Supply in the city of Industry, said those two factors alone would have far-reaching impacts.
“This would over-saturate the industry and pricing would go down,” he said.
Under current state regulations, mobile hair-cutting operations must apply for an establishment license, which is similar to the requirement for a brick-and-mortar business. They must also have running water and a toilet.
“All of that would be removed with SB 803,” Moreno said. “And corporations that apply for mobile units would only have to give one address. So they could have 100 units operating out there and no one would know where they are.”
SB 803 states that mobile units must include a “self-contained potable water supply” if shampooing services are offered, and “continuous, on-demand hot water tanks” with at least a 6-gallon capacity.
Elise Gyore, Roth’s chief of staff, said the senator has met with representatives from the barbering industry and expressed a willingness to address their concerns.
“There is a lot of misinformation out there from people who may stand to benefit from the status quo,” she said. “We have to do a sunset renewal on this, which forces us to take a look at things that work and things that don’t work.”
California’s barbering courses currently require 1,500 training hours of training — more than most other states require — and Roth wants to reduce that to 1,000 hours. That would include 100 hours of health and safety instruction, 100 hours in disinfection and sanitation and 200 hours of training in chemical hair services, among other areas.
Lu Garcia Reynoso, director of the Barber Society, a resource-based organization that serves the industry, said SB 803 is intended to “mass produce technicians by lowering barriers of entry into the profession.”
“The hardest part of what we do is recruitment and retention,” she said. “By lowering those barriers, we would get an influx of individuals coming into the market, but they won’t have the skills or training on hygiene and public safety that’s needed.”
Garcia Reynoso noted that SB 803 would still require a written exam but would do away with the practical “hands-on” exam prospective barbers currently must pass.
“We think this is just the beginning,” she said. “Next they’re going to go after skin and nails.”
SB 803 will move next to the Assembly Business and Professions Committee and the Assembly Appropriations Committee before returning to the Senate for a final vote before landing on Gov. Newsom’s desk for final approval.
Source: Orange County Register