April 16, 2019

Arizona has officially put an end to the overregulation tangling up its blow-dry stylists by freeing them to work without costly licenses. The Goldwater Institute strongly advocated for policy change in yet another victory for citizens’ right to earn a living without permission from the government.

Governor Doug Ducey today signed the bipartisan, Goldwater-backed law that removes the requirement that blow-dry salon workers—stylists who dry and style hair, but do not cut, perm, or permanently alter hair—must obtain a cosmetology license in order to do their job. With the bill now signed, Arizona is the second state in the country—after Virginia—not to require a costly, time-consuming license for blow-dry stylists.

This is the latest effort by Arizona to expand workers’ freedom. Last week, Arizona became the first state in the nation to adopt universal recognition for occupational licenses—a policy the Goldwater Institute has long fought for and supported. Under the landmark reform, a worker who holds an occupational license in one state and then moves to Arizona no longer is required to spend time and money on more training, just to practice their profession in their new home.

The move to free blow-dry stylists follows the Goldwater Institute’s recent call for Arizona—and other states—to cut the regulatory shackles that are restraining blow-dry stylists. In a report last month, the Institute uncovered the regulatory mismatch that these workers face. In Arizona, the lowest-level license needed to work in a blow-dry salon takes 1,000 hours of training. That training includes many lessons that blow-dry salon employees don’t need and never use in their line of work. These training requirements make it more difficult to become a blow-dry stylist than to become a police officer or firefighter—professions where safeguarding public health and safety are central concerns.

“Professional women and men should have the right to earn a living without government permission—and certainly without the threat of fines and jail time,” said Goldwater Institute Director of Government Affairs Jenna Bentley. “In Arizona, blow drying someone’s hair without a license was a crime punishable by up to six months in jail and a $2,000 fine. Thanks to this bipartisan reform, blow-drying is no longer a crime, and Arizona is a place that truly honors blow-dry stylists’ right to earn a living.”

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