In response to a call from the Rhode Island Speaker of the House, and following the lead of the executive branch, the Rhode Island Center for Freedom & Prosperity, in a new report, calls on lawmakers to enact regulatory reform to the state's overburdensome mandates.

Center to Testify for HAIR BRAIDER FREEDOM Against International Special-Interest Lobby


Hair Braiders Should Have the #RightToEarn a Living

National Hair Salon Chain Lobbies to Protect Profits

Providence, RI — A prominent local lobbyist has been hired by a national hair salon chain to preserve ridiculous protectionist laws that inhibit natural hair braiders from earning a living.

The Toni and Guy Hairdressing Academy, an international corporation with a location in Cranston, RI, has retained prominent area lobbyist, Andrew Annaldo, to maintain the myth that natural hair braiding provides some kind of public safety risk that requires thousands of hours of training and hundreds of dollars of fees to obtain permission from the government to work. Conversely, the RI Center for Freedom & prosperity believes every Rhode Islander should be afforded every opportunity to engage in gainful work.

“There are no chemicals or sharp tools involved in this twisting of hair art form,” commented Mike Stenhouse, CEO for the Center, who will testify at House and Senate hearings this week. Without any evidence of actual consumer harm, this licensing burden is prohibitive to many people who would prefer to start new careers and earn paychecks instead of receiving welfare checks. “It is clear that established hair salons are seeking to preserve crony policies that protect their profits by thwarting potential competition. Does anyone really think that this international chain is truly interested in protecting the safety of Rhode Islanders?”

After many states have acted in recent years to remove similar licensing burdens for natural hair braiding, Rhode Island remains among the vast minority of states that still maintain such onerous laws; most likely because of special-interest lobbying by the hair salon industry.

The Center believes that every Rhode Islander has the #RightToEarn a living in a vocation of their choice, without undue interference from government. In a major report by the Center – The RIght to Earn a Living – issued in January, Rhode Island was cited as ranking as one of the 10 most onerously burdened states when it comes to occupational licensing. Additionally our state already suffers from bottom 10 rankings on the Family Prosperity Index (FPI), overall business climate, and on Jobs & Opportunity Index (JOI).

It is precisely because of heavy-handed licensing mandates, such as those imposed on natural hair braiders, that RI has such dismal national rankings. Recognizing this specific problem, Speaker Nicholas Mattiello, in his remarks to open the 2018 General Assembly session, said that reducing regulatory burdens should be a priority this year. This legislation would advance the Speaker’s agenda.

In 2017 Rhode Island ranked low in ‘entrepreneurship’ according to the national Family Prosperity Index. Per the Center, unfair and unreasonable occupational licensing restrictions must be repealed if we want more Rhode Islanders to have a chance to improve their quality of life and engage in entrepreneurial commerce.

House bill H7565 and Senate Bill S2323, which will be heard in the House Corporations and Senate Commerce committees, today (Tuesday) and this Thursday, respectively, would exempt natural hair braiders from the requirement to be licensed as hairdressers or cosmeticians, while also defining the safe practice of natural hair braiding.

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