Suit challenges Louisiana training mandate for hair braiding

Louisiana
hair braid_1561231151389.jpg.jpg

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — An organization that has already challenged Louisiana licensing and permit regimens for commercial flower arranging and cosmetic eyebrow threading now is going after what it says are onerous and unconstitutional permit requirements on people who braid hair for a living.

The Virginia-based Institute for Justice filed the suit Thursday in state court in Baton Rouge on behalf of three practitioners of natural hair braiding techniques practiced widely in African American communities. The suit says Louisiana’s requirement for 500 hours of training is difficult to fulfill. That’s because few cosmetology schools offer the course — in fact the suit says there appears to be only one — and the state doesn’t appear to even offer the required exam.

One plaintiff moved to Texas to get out from under the burdensome permit requirement, the lawsuit says.

Another, New Orleans area resident Lynn Schofield, had been allowed to work without the requisite permit because she had been in business more than two years before permitting began in 2003 and was “grandfathered,” the suit said. But her permit lapsed due to personal emergencies and she has been unable to meet the requirements, in part because the only cosmetology school offering the lengthy courses is hours away in Monroe.

The suit says Schofield had to close three “Afro Touch” hair styling locations because the permits are now so hard to get for her, or potential employees.

The suit says plaintiff attorneys believe only 19 people in the state currently have the required “alternative hair design permits” needed to legally braid hair, “while there are many more unlicensed and unpermitted braiders.”

Louisiana’s cosmetology board is the defendant. Messages seeking board comment weren’t returned Friday.

The suit says the board unconstitutionally adopted permit provisions that should be reserved for the Legislature; and that the board unconstitutionally let cosmetology schools develop the permit curriculum.

Institute for Justice has had some success at challenging licensure and permit requirements in Louisiana in the past, and it has challenged hair braiding requirements in other states, including Mississippi.

Until last year, eyebrow threading practitioners in Louisiana needed an esthetician’s license, requiring 750 hours of beauty school courses and three licensing exams. After a lawsuit backed by Institute of Justice was filed, the board required only a test and a permit with costs totaling $50.

A 2010 lawsuit backed by the group challenged licensing requirements for Louisiana florists. That year, the Legislature eliminated a requirement for a “demonstration” exam to obtain a retail florist license. The suit was dropped, but license requirements, including a written exam, remain and subsequent legislative efforts to eliminate the requirements have been unsuccessful.

Conor Beck, a spokesman for the institute, said it has filed 13 suits in other jurisdictions over hair braiding requirements. “We’ve had 13 past braiding cases, 12 of them are wins, a few of which happened when states decided to end their license requirements rather than face IJ in court,” he said in an email.

For more stories like this that matter to you, click here to download the News 10 app for free.

Watch live newscasts, get breaking news and sign up for push alerts – download now

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Clear

Abbeville

59°F Clear Feels like 59°
Wind
12 mph NNW
Humidity
33%
Sunrise
Sunset

Tonight

A clear sky. Low 32F. Winds light and variable.
35°F A clear sky. Low 32F. Winds light and variable.
Wind
7 mph NNW
Precip
10%
Sunset
Moon Phase
Waning Gibbous
Clear

Crowley

57°F Clear Feels like 57°
Wind
12 mph N
Humidity
42%
Sunrise
Sunset

Tonight

A clear sky. Low 33F. Winds light and variable.
35°F A clear sky. Low 33F. Winds light and variable.
Wind
7 mph NNW
Precip
10%
Sunset
Moon Phase
Waning Gibbous
Clear

Opelousas

56°F Clear Feels like 56°
Wind
14 mph NNE
Humidity
42%
Sunrise
Sunset

Tonight

Clear skies. Low 32F. Winds light and variable.
35°F Clear skies. Low 32F. Winds light and variable.
Wind
7 mph NNW
Precip
10%
Sunset
Moon Phase
Waning Gibbous
Clear

Breaux Bridge

59°F Clear Feels like 59°
Wind
18 mph N
Humidity
39%
Sunrise
Sunset

Tonight

Clear skies. Low 33F. Winds N at 5 to 10 mph.
35°F Clear skies. Low 33F. Winds N at 5 to 10 mph.
Wind
7 mph NNW
Precip
10%
Sunset
Moon Phase
Waning Gibbous
Clear

New Iberia

61°F Clear Feels like 61°
Wind
13 mph N
Humidity
42%
Sunrise
Sunset

Tonight

Partly cloudy. Low 36F. Winds light and variable.
32°F Partly cloudy. Low 36F. Winds light and variable.
Wind
3 mph N
Precip
0%
Sunset
Moon Phase
Waning Gibbous

Local News

More Local

Sidebar

Trending Stories