Ohio Lawmakers Consider Trimming Salon License Regulations

Published January 15, 2016

Ohio lawmakers are proposing to reform the state’s occupational licensing rules for cosmetologists.

If approved by lawmakers and signed into law, Senate Bill 213 and its companion bill in the state’s House of Representatives would remove laws requiring the presence of a state-licensed salon manager at any beauty salon in Ohio whenever the business is open. The bill would also create a new, non-mandatory advanced license for cosmetologists seeking to learn more difficult skills.

Currently, obtaining a government-issued salon-manager license requires 300 hours of training, in addition to the 1,200 training hours required to obtain a cosmetology license.

Hair-Raising Regulations

State Sen. Kris Jordan (R-Ostrander), the primary sponsor of the bill, says rules and regulations are better at holding people back than protecting their health and safety.

“Government regulations and occupational licensure serve more to stifle economic growth and entrepreneurship than to protect the public,” Jordan said. “Ohio’s regulatory structure for cosmetologists is unique in that we are the only state in the country to require that a licensed manager be present anytime a salon is open for business. The manager license is a significant burden on Ohio’s cosmetology industry, as it is [obtained] on top of the base 1,200 hours of training that are already required to become a cosmetologist.”

A Little Off the Top

Jordan says getting government bureaucrats out of the way benefits everybody.

“By cutting back Ohio’s aggressive regulatory structure, we are getting government out of the way of our cosmetology industry,” Jordan said. “This will allow our entrepreneurs to grow their businesses and will lower the existing government barriers that could discourage entry into the industry. Ohio’s cosmetology schools serve as an excellent resource for our current and future beauty professionals.”

Greg Lawson, a policy analyst for the Buckeye Institute for Public Policy Solutions, says Ohio’s occupational licensing rules are more burdensome than similar rules in other states.

“While most states license cosmetology, and there is some level of safety involved, Ohio is on the high end in terms of needed hours [of training],” Lawson said. “Reducing this burden is appropriate.”

Lawson says businesses in the state have gamed the system at the expense of jobseekers.

“Many of the for-profit schools are able to take advantage of an antiquated law that guarantees them business at the expense of individuals looking to make a living,” Lawson said. “As it relates to the salon-manager license, Ohio is literally the only state to have this. Further, New York only needs 1,000 hours for a cosmetology license. It is absurd that a state like New York, the heart of the fashion world in the United States, [requires fewer] hours than Ohio.”

Matt Hurley ([email protected]) writes from Cincinnati, Ohio.