Senator Jeremy England gave a vigorous defense of a piece of legislation that he has authored in a post published to Facebook. Senate Bill 2342 would exempt certain beauty services from licensing and registration requirements, thus reducing the stranglehold that the Board of Cosmetology has over these workers.

Many have called into question the need for hundreds of hours and potentially thousands of dollars spent on training that often does not even apply to an individual’s chosen profession. For example, while an EMT needs 150 class hours, an eyebrow threader in Mississippi must take 600 expensive class hours and not a single moment of these lessons focuses on eyebrow threading.

The fact is that rules like this one are often focused not on health and safety, but on producing a barrier to entry. Thus, obstacles are developed that help to ensure that less people try to join the industry and less competition exists for current providers.

In August 2019, Aaron Rice, Director of the Mississippi Justice Institute, the legal arm of MCPP, filed a lawsuit on behalf of Dipa Bhattarai in a federal district court. The lawsuit was filed against the Cosmetology Board.

Eyebrow threading is a safe and simple technique that uses just a single strand of cotton thread to remove unwanted hair. It does not involve skin-to-skin contact between the threading artist and customer, does not reuse the same tools on different customers, and does not involve the use of sharp implements, harsh chemicals, or heat.

Regarding this legislation from Senator England, MJI Director Aaron Rice stated, “[w]e have been fighting in court for years to protect the rights of niche beauty service providers to earn an honest living without burdensome and irrelevant licensing requirements.”

Rice continued, “[t]his legislation would solve that problem and allow more Mississippians to use their skills and abilities to provide for themselves and their families.”

In his Facebook post, Senator England noted, “[t]he Cosmetology Board in Mississippi is one of many, many departments and agencies we have in this state that requires licenses to perform certain tasks legally. In other words, if you want to do a job in Mississippi that you may be capable of doing and talented enough to earn a living doing, the Board will not give you a license unless and until you pay for a huge amount of training hours and schooling. This is VERY restrictive. I’m not saying it is not helpful, and I’m not saying that those hours in a classroom learning how to perform certain tasks aren’t valuable.”

“But in a state like Mississippi, where we have a very low labor market participation rate and have a large population of individuals that feel stuck in a job with low pay, we have to reverse course on restricting people from doing jobs. It has to start somewhere – and the Board of Cosmetology is that start for me.”

“I want you to be able to earn a living and embark on the American Dream of starting a business where you have a chance to succeed (or fail). I want to help you support your family on your own, which may also help you get off and away from government assistance.”

“I don’t want a Board that will require a large number of hours in a classroom learning things that have nothing to do with your selected trade, and I don’t want you to be forced to take out tens of thousands of dollars in student loans in the process. That hurts people right where it counts, and it keeps them from succeeding. I am and will always be against this practice.”

“I want people to be able to work, and I don’t want a government agency putting up roadblocks to prevent them from working. This is my belief as a conservative – and it is a big reason why I am here in Jackson. I am a small government guy. Deregulation is a major part of the foundation of small government, conservative principles. I ran on these principles, and I promised to be faithful to them.”

Senator Jeremy England has stepped up to the plate to support Mississippi entrepreneurs. His passionate defense of the American dream and an individual’s right to work without a government agency getting in his or her way is worth highlighting and supporting.