1,500 training hours and $125 to shampoo hair?

Time to rinse out California's occupational licensing system
Monday, April 9, 2018

Did you know California requires a license to work in over 300 different jobs? Everything from tree trimming and interior design to makeup artistry and yes – even shampooing – makes the list. It is a distinction that has prompted the Institute for Justice to rank the state as the “most broadly and onerously licensed” in the country.

For people that want to work and provide for their families – in a state where one in five residents lives in poverty – licensing is another obstacle in climbing the economic ladder. The average amount spent on licensing in California is $486, with an average education requirement of 827 days and two exams.

“Occupational licensing is just another way for government to collect more money from hardworking Californians, while it picks winners and losers,” said Morrell. “Unfortunately, those who lose out tend to be the people who can least afford it.”

How can we start to tackle this problem?

Passing SB 999 would be a start. The bill proposes to repeal the occupational license requirement for shampooing, arranging, dressing, curling, waving, cleansing, and beautifying hair. All of these practices currently require over 1,500 hours of training, several exams, and up to $125 in fees in order to receive a license.

SB 999 is sponsored by the R Street Institute, a non-partisan policy think tank based in Washington D.C. Steven Greenhut, Western region director for the R Street Institute said, “It’s absurd that people who simply want to shampoo or dress hair have to jump through enormous and costly hurdles to do so.”

Greenhut explains more in a recent op-ed published in Fox & Hounds.

The California Board of Barbering and Cosmetology’s website lists as their 8th most frequently asked question relating to establishments, I would like to hire a person for the sole purpose of shampooing or preparing consumers services; can I do this? Obviously, enough establishments question the need for this license that the board lists it in the FAQs.

Could shampooing without government red tape be on the horizon? The Senate Business, Professions, and Economic Development Committee will consider SB 999 on April 16, 2018.

Morrell has also introduced SB 1371 to require the state to compile a list of every occupation requiring a license in California – a list that does not currently exist. Additionally, he has previously authored legislation to reduce occupational licensing costs for veterans re-entering the civilian workforce.