Utah beauticians are pushing against a licensing exemption bill under scrutiny by Utah state lawmakers that they believe would harm the cosmetics industry and pose public health risks.

Senate Act 87, sponsored by Senator Curt Bramble, R-Provo, would amend the State Cosmetology and Associated Professions Licensing Act to provide a license exemption for a beautician who “dries, styles, arranges, dresses, curls, hot irons, shampoos, or grooms Hair ”But don’t cut your hair or apply dye or reactive chemicals.

The bill one received favorable recommendation Senate Economic and Labor Committee on Jan. 20 is backed by libertarian advocacy groups who argue that licensing requirements are onerous and not material. Many beauticians and beauty schools say that Utah’s licensing requirements are necessary to keep the public safe.

“Our biggest concern is public safety,” Christina Thomas, who runs 19 salons in Utah, told the committee. “Hygiene and cleanliness are taught in schools. And during COVID, I was so grateful that my staff were licensed and had the training they received at school to keep the public safe. “

On Friday, Bramble unveiled a replacement version of the bill after “listening to the concerns of the cosmetics industry.”

The replacement bill would require that the unlicensed estheticians obtain a “hair safety permit” by completing a “hair safety program” approved by the Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing with a score of 75% or greater.

In addition, hair dryer bars and other facilities that are exempt from licensing “are subject to the same hygiene standards as a barber shop and a beauty salon,” Bramble told his colleagues.

“So they would be subject to the same sanitation requirements, inspections and sanctions and the like,” the Provo Senator said.

The law was passed in the third reading in the Senate on Friday at 21: 8 and submitted to parliament for further consideration.

Senator Jani Iwamoto, D-Salt Lake City, said she is still having issues with the revised bill “because of my emails I have” from beauticians in her district who opposed the license change.

“I’ve never had so many emails. I think the salons in my district need to be concentrated because I received so many, ”said Iwamoto.

“My concern is that we continue to nibble on the margins of various licenses,” said Senator Gene Davis, Salt Lake City, D. “And I have a feeling that … if we were to address these issues, it would be the sunset time for these licensing laws.”

Davis added, “To change these midstream licenses, I don’t think we should probably do it that way.”

But Salt Lake City Democratic Senator Luz Escamilla, who said she also has many beauticians in her district, said she supported the revised bill because it needed approval, “and it will also be very clear that she doesn’t (licensed)) beauticians and that they cannot do the other work. “

Senator Scott Sandall, R-Tremonton, who backed the bill, said, “Utah licensing is usually about public safety.”

“It shouldn’t be about a barrier to entry for a company,” he said.

Despite the revision of the law, many Utah estheticians still oppose the legislation.

According to the event’s Facebook page, more than 70 people are planning to take part in a “We’re More Than Hairdressers” protest taking place in Salt Lake City on Sunday.

Gentry Leonard, a cosmetology student at Cameo College of Essential Beauty in Murray who helped organize the protest, said she wanted to show “that there are a lot more beauticians than people think who oppose it.”

“I think this would have an impact on the industry as it encourages companies and corporations to underpaid their employees and keep the stylists at a lower level with their work and the salon,” Leonard said in an interview on Friday.

While Leonard said she could “definitely see where people are coming from trying to cut school” and make the industry more accessible, she added that she felt like she was being cheated on as a beautician, “with the proper training and license (ing). ”

“I just didn’t really think the amount of training in cosmetology mattered until I went to school,” said Leonard. “So I can definitely understand why people are a little put off school, but I don’t think people realize how much work there is: the amount of education, all of our supplies, customers and products are provided by the school. And that’s very important so that students can build a customer base after school. “

Connor Richards covers government, environmental, and South Utah County for the Daily Herald. He can be reached at crichards@heraldextra.com and 801-344-2599.