A bill has passed the Rhode Island House of Representatives to deregulate the business of African-style hair braiding.
House lawmakers passed the bill Thursday to exempt natural hair braiders from the state's requirement for hairdressers and cosmeticians to be licensed.
Practitioners say it's a cultural tradition and art form that shouldn't be subject to cosmetology rules, and that training and chemical safety rules for cosmetologists aren't relevant to what they do.
The legislation heads to the Senate for consideration.
Rep. Anastasia Williams, the bill's sponsor, says hardworking and creative braiders shouldn't continue to be subjected to oppressive regulations and fees while passing down rich traditions and culture.
The Providence Democrat tried to exempt hair braiders from licensing requirements last year. The bill stalled.
Beauty schools have opposed similar efforts nationally.