Cosmetologists angered by Indiana bill to repeal licensing

Student barbers at Kenny Academy of Barbering

Indiana lawmakers are considering doing away with licenses for a number of professions in the state.

Indiana House Bill 1006, sponsored by Rep. David Wolkins (R-District 18), would do away with licensing for cosmetology and barbering along with the board that regulates the industry. Cosmetology student Tara Lacey is outraged about the legislation.

"I was devastated," said cosmetology student Tara Lacy. "I've thought about all the time and energy that I have put in to getting my license, all the sacrifices that I've made."

Lacey is scheduled to graduate with her license in April of this year. She's enrolled at Hair Fashions by Kaye Beauty College near Castleton Mall, which is owned and operated by Kaye Maxwell.

She wrote Rep. Wolkins a letter calling his proposal the most disgraceful thing she's ever read. Maxwell has 62 years of experience in cosmetology training. She says doing away with licensing will devastate her industry.

"Hair is very important to people," Maxwell said. "That is the only way you are going to get what you want and nothing is going to happen to your hair."

The same proposal deregulates licensing for other professions including security guards, private investigators and dietitians. But the hair industry is speaking out loudest against the proposal, including Dave Doolin, a student at Kenny's Academy of Barbering.

"You don't have to be educated to cut hair. That's pretty much what the man is saying," Doolin said.

State Rep. David Wolkins says he plans to listen to the people the proposal affects the most.

"We are going to listen to the testimony and decide what to do then," Wolkins said. "I would guess there will be some changes in the cosmetology part of it."

"I would love to talk to him and give him an opportunity to talk to all the barbers and cosmetologists whose jobs are going to be destroyed," said barber school owner Greg Kenny, who says he plans to be heard on the matter, too.

Maxwell plans to visit the Statehouse Friday to voice her concerns along with possibly hundreds of others.

A petition was started on to stop the bill.