A bipartisan bill that would allow hairstylists in Wisconsin to provide natural hair-braiding services, like twisting and weaving, without a barbering or cosmetology license passed through the Wisconsin State Assembly by a 88-5 vote on Wednesday.
“This bill is about equity and it’s about opening up opportunity and removing those barriers … it will help so many individuals, especially female entrepreneurs, to practice the art of natural hair braiding without unnecessary training,” State Rep. Shelia Stubbs tells Madison365. “This will not only improve their economic lives, but this bill will also stimulate the economy as a whole.”
Stubbs is one of the authors of the bill and has been a big advocate along with a host of members of Madison’s African-American community who have spoken at public hearings about how the bill would be a great opportunity for entrepreneurs in African-American and African immigrant communities to support themselves and their families.
“I want to thank Jeff Patterson (owner of JP Hair Design), Rev. Marcus Allen [of Mt. Zion Church], the Dane County NAACP, my mom [Linda Hoskins] and all of the people and all of my constituents who supported me with this bill and came out to testify for this bill,” Stubbs says.
With Assembly Bill 121, Stubbs is the first Democrat in this session to have a bill pass in the Republican-dominated state Legislature.
“It’s so wonderful to get a bi-partisan bill passed that impacts equity. It’s a bill that I really believed in and positively impacts communities of color,” Stubbs says. “I feel like it’s a huge win for the state of Wisconsin and we are now able to join the other 30 states across our country who have removed this barrier.
“I can’t wait for it to become law,” she adds.