Shave and a haircut, lawmakers are sharpening their razors again for more cosmetology reform

Ohio Statehouse (file photo)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WDTN) -It has been nearly a year since the Ohio legislature passed a bill into law that reformed the cosmetology industry in the state, and now lawmakers are back at it again.

State Senator Charleta Tavares, representing Senate District 15, and Senator Kris Jordan, representing Senate District 19, introduced SB 129 to the Senate Government Oversight and Reform Committee Tuesday afternoon.

The lawmakers want to reduce the number of hours cosmetology students need to complete to become a professional.

Senator Tavares says this will cut down on student loan debt, Sen. Jordan says it will spur business growth in the state.

The bi-partisan legislation has a sister bill going through the same process in a House committee.

However, the legislation already has opponents.

James Rogers, a chairman emeritus of the Salon Schools Group says slashing the required hours is a terrible idea.

“I can’t think of anything where cutting education is a good idea,” said Rogers. “Would we want doctors who are only attending now two and a half to three years?”

Greg Lawson, a fellow at the Buckeye Institute which supports the legislation, points to research that claims the extra hours aren’t necessary.

“When there is evidence that you’re not really gaining that much more from all this extra time, why are we doing that?” questioned Lawson. “We need to be able to create opportunities for people to get jobs quickly and move up.”

Wezlynn Davis, the owner of The Beauty Lab in Delaware, OH says that research is bad and things will not turn out the way supporters of the bill think they will.

“Lowering education will move people into two paths, a corporate path or a national chain path and it removes the confidence in their skill sets that would allow them to leave school and immediately work for themselves,” said Davis.

But that may be what is intended. Senator Tavares and Lawson both point out that much of what they learned about their careers came through on the job training they did not receive in the classroom; and perhaps recent grads should benefit by working for someone who is a veteran in the industry, at least for a short time.

“We really want to make sure that we’re protecting the industry while at the same time ensuring that we’re not loading students with debt,” said Tavares.

The legislation also seeks to set up an apprenticeship program that would allow high school aged participants to earn their way into the profession without having to go through the traditional schooling.

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