A state lawmaker is defending his bill to allow barbers, cosmeticians, hair braiders and nail technicians to work without a state license.
Illinois requires people to obtain a number of hours of training and continued education to get a state license. Cosmetologists are required to get 1,500 hours of education, the same for a barber license. An esthetician license requires 750 hours. The requirement is 350 hours for nail technicians, and 300 hours for hair braiding. There are other regulations for salons and barbershops.
State Rep. Allen Skillicorn, R-East Dundee, said his House Bill 5558 was simple. It would allow those practicing various jobs in the cosmetology arena to do so without a license, as long as it’s publicly posted they’re not licensed. He said the idea came about after he got his hair styled by his go-to stylist.
“And she’s not licensed to do a straight razor shave so I have to go back and get an appointment from someone else for a shave,” Skillicorn said. “Yet she knows what she’s doing. She’s already trained as a cosmetologist. She’s licensed. She’s gone to school, but because of the current licensing in Illinois she has to go back to school for many, many hours, repetitive schooling that she already has just to get that one certification for a straight razor shave.”
He said that wasn’t fair to his stylist, nor was it fair to consumers. He said the measure was designed to eliminate barriers to entering the workforce.
“Frankly, we need to get more people in the trades, and why would we want to exclude people from the trades?” Skillicorn said. “These are good-paying jobs. These are good careers. Why don’t we open the door for young people to get involved and work their way up the ladder?”
Opponents of the bill include the American Beauty Show, an association for the cosmetology profession. The group said the measure would negatively affect public safety and consumers.
“If it’s less safe, that gives the people, the consumers more reasons to go to a licensed person, so it really doesn’t to that,” Skillicorn said. “It really just opens the door for entry-level jobs and apprenticeships.”
Others worry the measure would devalue the industry, but Skillicorn said it was about free markets and consumer choice.
“People who do not trust the free market, they have an inherent distrust of freedom itself,” he said.
Skillicorn is the only sponsor of House Bill 5558, which remains in the House Rules Committee.