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Dave & Dujanovic: Stylists say bill makes their hair stand on end

Services like haircuts and salon visit may still be subject to tax reform, Weiler says. (Photo: Studio 5 with Brooke Walker / KSL TV)

SALT LAKE CITY — A senator’s legislation would allow a person to wash, dry and style hair without a stylists’ license. But a cosmetologist said without licensing, the public’s health would be in danger.

Dave Noriega and Debbie Dujanovic talked with Provo Sen. Curt Bramble, the bill’s sponsor, during the Dave and Dujanovic show Thursday. The legislation, SB87, would create an exemption to the cosmetology licensing requirement for someone who only dries, styles, arranges, dresses, curls, hot irons, shampoos or conditions hair. Without the license, a salon worker would still not be permitted to cut or dye hair.

Senator explains stylists’ bill

Bramble said everyone shampoos, blow-dries and styles their own hair at home, so why would a license b e necessary to do the same thing inside a business?

The senator added his own cosmetologist of 30 years supports his legislation. 

“The reality is shampooing, blow-drying  and conditioning hair — that’s something everyone of us are familiar with,” he said. “When the profession says it’s OK if you do it without being paid, but as soon as you get paid, then it becomes a problem with public health and safety. That’s a disconnect for me, and licensing was never intended to protect turf.”

Bramble said in Utah, a person doesn’t need a license to fix the brakes on a vehicle. But if it’s done wrong, the driver and the passengers could die.

”People don’t die if you get a bad style,” the senator said.

“I’m a CPA. If you want to get your taxes prepared by a licensed CPA, God bless America, you can do it,” he continued. “But if you want to go to your next-door neighbor, and they charge you to prepare your taxes, there’s no restriction on them being able to do it. You just bear the risk on whether they’re professionals or not.”

Debbie estimated that it costs about $3,500-plus and a year and a half of training to earn a cosmetology license today.

More like $15,000 to $25,000, countered Bramble.

Dave supports bill

Dave argued the stylists’ bill doesn’t go far enough. He said it should allow for someone to cut and color hair without a license.

He has no license, but Dave said he loves cutting hair. He cuts his sons’ hair and has done so for two decades. His daughter? No.

“Which I’m totally fine with,” he said.

Dave calculates he has performed around 700 haircuts, saving roughly $10,000, which allows him to pay for his Diet Coke habit, he joked.

Some stylists oppose bill

Utah hair stylist Devin Johnson said her primary job is to protect herself,  her coworkers and her clients from the pandemic. Also, she said stylists educate their clientele on keeping healthy hair and scalp and refer them to a doctor as needed.

“A shampoo seems like something that someone less skilled could do,” Dave observed.

“If you want to come into a place of business and get a professional shampoo and blow dry, that takes skill,” Johnson said. “Not only technical skill but that takes training.”

A hairstylist is also trained to spot signs of domestic violence, she said.

“Anytime someone puts their hands on a person in a place of business, a certain level of training should be required for the health and safety of everybody involved,” she said. “Are these new unlicensed people going to be held to the same standard?” 

The general public is in danger if this legislation passes and it’s a slap in the face for anyone who’s been through cosmetology school, Johnson added.

“This bill sounds like a good idea, but it’s actually a ploy to underpay employees,” she said. “Maybe it creates jobs, but licensing holds people accountable for wrongdoing and mishaps. This bill essentially incentivizes corporations to underpay their workers and hold them and the work they produce at their salon operation to a lower standard.”

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, a.s well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play. 

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