A long-running lawsuit in Missouri over regulation of hair braiding, recently submitted to the Supreme Court, apparently has been resolved by a new law that establishes a simple licensing plan.

WND reported the dispute centers on the state’s requirement that providers of African-style hair braiding undergo 1,500 hours of training – which costs about $12,000 – and obtain a cosmetology license.

Two Missouri residents argued the state’s licensing requirement impairs their right to make a living.

Now, however, a state bill that creates a new stand-alone braiding license has been adopted.

The Institute for Justice pointed out the new license will require that braiders pay a fee of $20, watch a four- to six-hour instructional video and submit to board inspections.

“The new braiding license is a dramatic improvement from Missouri’s incredibly burdensome requirement that African-style braiders waste a thousand or more hours and spend tens of thousands of dollars to obtain a full cosmetology license, just to braid hair,” said Dan Alban, IJ’s lead attorney for the braiders.

He said state Rep. Shamed Dogan, Republican, “has been tireless in his commitment to pushing forward on braiding freedom bills over several years.”

“Missouri’s natural hair braiders are extremely grateful that Rep. Dogan kept fighting for their right to earn a living and provide for their families, particularly after more than a decade of failed legislative reforms.”

The group has represented Joba Niang and Tameka Stigers in their dispute, which began in 2014.

Judges at the U.S. District Court and 8th Circuit Appeals Court levels ruled against them, “despite acknowledging that the required license had little, if anything, to do with braiding,” IJ said.

The plaintiffs had recently asked the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene, but IJ said the new legislation “will likely moot that case.”

“While it is good that the state of Missouri finally realized that the cosmetology license has nothing to do with braiding, we should remember that 25 states don’t require braiders to acquire a license at all,” said Paul Avelar, IJ senior attorney.

“Missouri, like all states, should still consider whether government should license something as safe and common as braiding hair.”

WND reported recently when the Rutherford Institute filed as friend-of-the-court brief asking the high court to take the case and give the plaintiffs “the right to earn a living free from arbitrary government interference.”

“This case, which challenges whether one needs a government license in order to braid hair, strikes at the heart of the bureaucratic exercise in absurdity that has pushed overregulation and overcriminalization to outrageous limits,” said constitutional attorney John W. Whitehead, Rutherford’s president.


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