Hair Braiding Bill Signed into Law

Professional hair braiders can finally relax. Gov. Pat Quinn has signed a new law that will let them ply their trade without having a cosmetology license, Chicagoist reports.

A kind of war has been going on between some licensed cosmetologists in the black community and the women who braid hair, but don't have a license. Hair braiders were accusing cosmetologists of phoning in complaints to get their shops raided by state inspectors.  And in response to the crack-downs, braiders were going underground.

Hair braiders had been required to get a full-blown cosmetology license -- which requires attending a cosmetology school at a cost of roughly $15,000. But, as many hair braiders will attest -- most cosmetology schools don't even teach the art of hair braiding -- a traditional skill often practiced by African immigrants.

Under the new law, braiders will be able to get a special hair-braiding license by taking 300 hours of training on braiding techniques and sanitation. Braiders who are already working will simply have to show they've been braiding for 2 years, and pay a fee.

Supporters of the bill say it's a good compromise to allow hair-braiding businesses to flourish, while setting some standards and  giving customers a way to complain about problems.

The new law will go into effect on Jan. 1 of next year.

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