Tennessee Makes $100,000 from Fining People for Braiding Hair

Without the government, who would force us to procure an expensive license just to braid hair, and fine us if we don’t do it?  Apparently, the government of Tennessee thought it would be a great source of revenue, and boy were they not wrong.  The state has collected $100,000 in fines, $16,000 from one person alone, Fatou Diouf.

From Forbes.com

Tennessee Has Fined Residents Nearly $100,000, Just For Braiding Hair

Ever since she was a little girl, Fatou Diouf has been braiding hair. And for almost two decades, Fatou has turned that tradition into a vocation by working professionally as a licensed natural hair stylist in Tennessee…..

In recent years, Tennessee has forced Fatou to pay a staggering $16,000 in fines, simply because she employed workers who did not have a government license to braid hair. Nor is she alone. After examining meeting minutes and disciplinary actions for the Tennessee Board of Cosmetology and Barber Examiners, the Institute for Justice has identified nearly $100,000 in fines levied against dozens of braiders and more than 30 different natural hair shops and salons since 2009. All of those violations were for unlicensed braiding; none were triggered by any health or sanitation violation.

Typically, the Board will issue a $1,000 “civil penalty” for every instance of “performing natural hair care services for clients without a license” it encounters. In addition to fining braiders who work out of their homes or unlicensed salons, the Board has targeted licensed shops, like Fatou’s……

Driven by those first-hand experiences, Fatou has become of the most outspoken voices for reform. Together with the Institute for Justice and the Beacon Center, Fatou has testified in favor of a bill that would eliminate the state’s license for natural hair stylists—and the Board’s basis for fining braiders. “We can create more employment if this bill passes,” she said……

But in Tennessee, only licensed “natural hair stylists” may earn a living by braiding, twisting, wrapping, weaving, extending or locking hair. Obtaining that license can be quite the ordeal. Braiders must complete at least 300 hours of coursework, which often means sacrificing the equivalent of working almost two months full-time. Across the entire state, only 3 schools offer those courses, charging anywhere from $1,500 to $5,000 for tuition.

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Paul Gordon is the publisher and editor of iState.TV. He has published and edited newspapers, poetry magazines and online weekly magazines. He is the director of Social Cognito, an SEO/Web Marketing Company. You can reach Paul at pg@istate.tv