This week the Platte Institute is joining forces with the Professional Beauty Association (PBA), an organization that is in strong support of maintaining occupational licensing laws, but agrees that occupational licensing laws in Nebraska are “archaic.” Both of us will be testifying in support of Legislative Bill 343 this week, which is a comprehensive regulatory reform bill that focuses on many careers in the beauty industry.
In a letter they sent to the Legislature's Health and Human Services committee ( PBA Committee Letter), PBA states, “LB 343 is an excellent example of common-sense legislation that directly addresses concerns of over-regulation of state-mandated occupational licensing. LB 343 will create meaningful changes to archaic licensing laws that desperately need reform.”
They go on to say, “As part of the Future of the Beauty Industry Coalition which represents professionals in the beauty industry, PBA supports a national consistent number of cosmetology program hours, and licensure mobility which will have the result of lowering student debt and increasing the ability for individuals to work and support our economy. LB 343 is a step in the right direction toward achieving these goals.”
LB343 removes barriers to employment or practice in 7 personal care fields, and one medical profession:
- Cosmetologists and barbers: Reduces requirement of 2,100 classroom hours for licensure to 1,500, in line with most states.
- Massage therapists: Reduces requirement of 1,000 classroom hours for licensure to 500, in line with most states.
- Cosmeticians: Eliminates state registration requirements for cosmeticians.
- Electrologists and estheticians: Retains current 600 classroom hour requirement for licensure, while removing an additional requirement for 600 credit hours.
- Nail technicians: Reduces current 300 hour requirement set by licensing board to no more than 200 hours.
- Audiologists: Eliminates duplicative requirement for licensed audiologists to receive a second license to dispense hearing aids.
Many of the groups opposing this legislation are among those that profit from these excessive regulations. One example is some cosmetology schools, who claim that requiring fewer hours may force a harmful change to curriculum. This bill does not alter the curriculum taught in cosmetology schools at all, however. Some opponents also argue that Nebraska’s 2,100 hours of cosmetology training produces a safer work environment. Independent research shows that all Nebraska’s students are getting with more hours is more student debt than other practitioners in other states.
Ultimately, LB 343 will not deregulate the cosmetology license in Nebraska. That’s one part of the reason PBA likes it. But LB343 also streamlines the entry process for students, creates flexibility for licensed cosmetologists, and helps align Nebraska with neighboring states to be more competitive.