Texas Governor Greg Abbott has signed into law, legislation that fully deregulates the practice of natural hair braiding and repeals the occupational license aspiring braiders were forced to obtain before earning an honest living braiding hair. This puts an end to nearly 20 years of conflict.The effort to deregulate natural hair braiders follows a successful constitutional challenge by the Institute for Justice and Isis Brantley.
The legal battle began in 1997 when seven government officials raided Brantley’s business and hauled her off in handcuffs for braiding hair without a special government license. When the state of Texas began regulating hair braiders in 2007 it lumped natural hair braiders with barbers and cosmetology practitioners, requiring natural hair braiders to attend cosmetology school and complete a 35-hour course on hair braiding. This meant coming up with tuition and spending 2,250 hours in barber school and passing four exams.
Brantley, an entrepreneur who runs a hair braiding school in Dallas, sued the state in 2013, citing the laws that pertained to hair braiding schools to be unreasonable. In the case of Brantley, she had spend thousands of dollars to first convert her small business into a fully equipped barber school that had at least 10 student chairs that reclined back and a sink behind ever work station before being allowed to teach hair braiding for a living.