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Victory For (Some) Braiders…



Hair braiders in Iowa are now free to earn an honest living. Under a new law that takes effect July 1, braiders will be exempted from Iowa’s cosmetology licensing laws and will simply need to register with the state. The Institute for Justice (IJ) and braiders Aicheria Bell and Achan Agit will voluntarily dismiss their lawsuit challenging Iowa’s law requiring that African-style hair braiders get a cosmetology license.

In October 2015, IJ filed a lawsuit on behalf of two Iowa braiders, Aicheria Bell and Achan Agit, seeking to protect their economic liberty. Previously, the state forced braiders to spend as much as $22,000 to complete 2,100 hours of cosmetology training and to pass a cosmetology licensing exam, even though much of this training had nothing to do with hair braiding. These burdensome requirements prevented Bell and Agit from starting their own braiding businesses and earning a living in the state. Although legislation to free braiders had been introduced in previous legislative sessions, it had never before advanced.

“I am grateful I can now pursue my passion and support my family without feeling like a criminal,” said Aicheria Bell. “This new law opens the door for so many braiders to start and grow their own businesses.”

Earlier this year, Nebraska and Kentucky both exempted African-style hair braiders from needing to acquire a cosmetology license to practice their craft. “Too many states continue to have laws like Iowa’s old law,” said IJ senior attorney Paul Avelar. “No one should have to hire a lawyer or a lobbyist just to go to work. As long as these laws remain on the books, we will continue to work with braiders across the country to secure their right to earn a living free from senseless licensing laws.”

Model in photo used to illustrate story only.

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