By WVUA 23 Student Reporter Jack Royer and Web Reporter Katherine Robinson

Barbers and cosmetologists in Alabama are taking proactive steps to prevent one house bill from becoming law. House Bill 344 would deregulate the barber industry in the state and remove them from the jurisdiction of the State Cosmetology Board.

The bill’s sponsor is Rep. Jimmy Martin.

“I had told the local barbers here that I would get them out from under the Cosmetology Board,” Martin said.

Some hair professionals are worried about the future of this bill. Owners of salons say regulating the hair industry is crucial to public safety.

Robert Brown owns Hair Impressions in Tuscaloosa and the Paul Mitchell Cosmetology School.

“The main difference was that they were going to let them use chemicals, and that is a public safety violation,” Brown said. “You know the public needs to be safe whenever they’re getting chemicals done, whether it is by a barber or by a cosmetologist.”

Barbering typically deals with men’s hair, while cosmetology encompasses all aspects of the trade. At Brown’s salon, cosmetology licenses hang on the wall. This proves that his stylists are trained professionals.

Brown says one mistake with hair chemicals by an untrained user can have devastating results.

“You need to feel comfortable when you’re getting your hair cut, and that you’re being provided a service by a skilled professional,” Brown said.

There are petitions online looking for signatures to drop this bill entirely. Rep. Martin has said he will not push this bill through the current legislative session as he tries to work out the promises he made to local barbers about deregulation.

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