Warwick, RI — This year’s budget eliminated several professional license requirements, a streamlining effort cosmetology instructors say opened them to unfair competition and unregulated training, but Reps. Eilleen Naughton (D-Dist. 21 Warwick) and Gregg M. Amore (D – Dist. 25, East Providence) aim to restore license protections for barbers, hairdressers, cosmeticians, manicurists and estheticians.
“We both agree that this was an oversight,” said Naughton Wednesday afternoon of the elimination of instructor licenses for the esthetic professions. So, she and Amore are hoping to restore them with House Bill 7626, which has been referred to the House Corporations Committee.
Naughton said she and Amore met with Lt. Governor Daniel J. McKee and also with Gov. Gina Raimondo to discuss the issue and their solution. While she was reluctant to speak on Raimondo’s behalf, Naugton said she believes the instructors licenses were mistakenly included among a large number of license requirements Raimondo sought to eliminate to streamline business licensing in the state.
Raimondo’s office could not be reached for comment.
Jill Shurtlef, cosmetology instructor at the Warwick Area Career and Technical Center at 575 Centerville Road, said licensing her work holds she and her fellow instructors to high standards. Under the previous standard, she was required to take 300 hours of instruction and perform 12 hours of professional development each year to verify she’s qualified to teach cosmetology to her students.
“That shows that I know how to teach cosmetology,” Shurtlef said, which sets her apart from someone with a cosmetology degree who seeks to instruct students in the profession.
Shurtlef, who had 17 years experience as a hairdresser before becoming an instructor and now has 30, said as the law stands, if she were to retire, “There is no criteria to prove the next cosmetology instructor really is an instructor.”
Jackie Pace, executive director of Empire Beauty School at 1276 Bald Hill Road, was among roughly 80 people who rallied at the State House Tuesday night to show support for Naughton and Amore’s bill.
Pace said she agrees the instructor licenses were culled from the budget in error. She and her fellow cosmetology instructors were surprised to receive letters informing them their licenses were no longer required by the state, something they didn’t ask for.
“There was never an issue with us paying our $25 fee for our licenses,” she said.
Restoring the licenses for the instructors fairly protects the instructors, students who would learn from them, “And also, for the safety of the public,” Naughton said.
In addition to licenses required for cosmetology instructors, Article 20 of RI’s 2015 budget eliminated license requirements for the following professions:
- Orthotics and prosthetics
- radiologist assistant
- athletic coaches
- fur trappers and buyers
- clinical laboratory science practices
- osteopathic pathologist
- sanitarians (environmental health sciences and technology)
- kick-boxing match organizers, kick-boxers
- line cleaners (cleaning beer or wine dispensing lines)
A similar legislative effort is under way to restore licensure for clinical laboratory science practices, penned by Rep. Patricia A. Serpa (D-Dist 27, West Warwick, Coventry, Warwick): House Bill 7447. The bill has been referred to the House Education & Welfare Committee.
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