Juan Carlos has a skill for styling hair and a passion for helping others. So for him, offering free haircuts to homeless veterans was a no-brainer. He never thought he might be fined or even jailed for his good deeds.
But then again, the 27-year-old cosmetology student hadn’t crossed the Arizona Board of Cosmetology before, either. His act of charity and kindness landed him in hot water with unelected bureaucrats who were bent on enforcing senseless and costly regulations:
In January 2017, I created an event at a local downtown library for the poor and homeless, providing haircuts, nails, and makeup services for free. As a cosmetology student, it was a great way to give back to my community as well as get more time perfecting my skills. Even licensed cosmetologists volunteered. We had a blast. We helped so many individuals and made so many people smile. It was a truly wonderful day. However, that all changed just a few days later.
I received a threatening phone call from the Arizona Board of Cosmetology along with a letter summoning me to Phoenix for a hearing. I was broken. The Board said it is against the law to practice outside of any salon or school without a license – even though I was giving free haircuts to homeless veterans.
To comply with the law, Carlos would have needed a cosmetology license, which is neither cheap nor easy to obtain. It costs on average between $15,611 to $18,000 in training costs and fees and requires up to 1,000 hours of training to earn a license. And believe it or not, practicing cosmetology without a license is a crime punishable by up to 6 months in jail and a $2,000 fine, and you can face sanctions even if you’re giving free haircuts to homeless veterans.
Thankfully Governor Doug Ducey and the people of Arizona came to Carolos’s defense after the story went viral, convincing the Board to stand down.
“People saw that I put my heart in this effort and encouraged me to keep going. Without the Governor’s support, however, I would have been at the mercy of the Board and fined for my actions,” Carlos said.
For Carlos, the story lays bare the flaws of the state’s licensing system. Government creates extraordinary and unnecessary barriers to entrepreneurship. And he believes that the law needs to be changed to open the door for people to begin new careers, open businesses, and thrive.
There is a solution: HB 2011, a common-sense reform that removes the requirement that workers who only dry and style hair must obtain a costly, time-consuming, and unnecessary cosmetology license. It’s a bill that Carlos strongly supports.
“Cosmetology can be a wonderful career. However, over-regulation has created too many barriers to practice. Bills like HB2011 would allow students to work and gain experience blow-drying hair,” he said. “Unnecessary laws and ridiculous power-hungry boards must be reined in.”