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Rhode Island House passes bill to deregulate hair braiding

The Rhode Island House of Representatives has passed legislation that would deregulate the business of African-style hair braiding, which practitioners say is a cultural tradition and art form that shouldn't be subject to cosmetology rules. (WJAR)

The Rhode Island House of Representatives has passed legislation that would deregulate the business of African-style hair braiding, which practitioners say is a cultural tradition and art form that shouldn't be subject to cosmetology rules.

The House unanimously passed the bill Tuesday. It now moves to the Senate.

It would exempt natural hair braiders from the costly licensing requirements for hairdressers and barbers.

Braiders say training and chemical safety rules for cosmetologists aren't relevant to what they do.

They're backed by a bipartisan group that included the bill's sponsor, Democratic state Rep. Anastasia Williams and conservative and libertarian organizations seeking to cut business regulations.

The national law group Institute for Justice has been fighting for years to deregulate braiding around the country.

Beauty schools have opposed the efforts nationally.

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