Surprise, surprise. Florida legislators have proposed some shortsighted legislation that aggravates the problem they’re purporting to correct. (Anyone shocked? As a Florida native and lifelong resident, I’m certainly not.) But it’s not all bad! In this article, you’ll get an overview of both bills (SB 1640 and HB 27)and learn what the schools fighting to kill those bills probably don’t want you to know.
How does Florida SB 1640 and HB 27 hurt the beauty industry?
EDUCATION HOURS REDUCED
The bills would reduce the number of hours needed to work as a barber to 600—less than half the national average. Additionally, specialist education requirements would be cut as well, but—to be entirely fair—few of our schools have done much at all to justify the hourly requirements they fought so hard for. (I discussed this at length in the 3-part VIP-exclusive series, The Education Situation, last month, so I won’t get into that here.)
For all their talk of making it “easier” for new entrants, reducing the hours makes it impossible to qualify for Pell Grants, requiring students to come up with the entirety of their tuition money themselves.
SB 1640 and HB 27 expedite the education with the goal of getting people to work faster, but they impose a financial barrier that will very likely accomplish the opposite (especially since the wages and career opportunities available to professionals in this state are nothing to brag about).
BRAIDING, NAIL POLISHING, MAKEUP ARTISTRY, AND BODY WRAPPING DEREGULATED
MLM queens rejoice. You can apply your Avon/Lipsense cosmetics for compensation without consequence and peddle your ItWorks! garbage without paying a $25 registration fee if SB 1640 passes. I don’t care much for body wrappers, since they’ve never honored the state board regulations or those established by the FTC (it really doesn’t work, but somehow their deceptive and fraudulent marketing does).
I’m indifferent to this one. I’m not outraged, but I’m not thrilled about it either.
The deregulation of makeup artistry is a bit alarming, but Florida has always allowed unlicensed salespeople to apply makeup if it’s part of a so-called “sales demonstration,” so unlicensed people applying cosmetics isn’t a new thing here.
I did laugh when I read that “nail polishing” would be deregulated, since I see absolutely no practical use for a person who strictly applies nail polish as a profession. It seems likely that this inclusion was meant to allow event work (mini-manis at corporate events or princess parties, for instance) and on-location work, so expect to see more on-demand beauty apps and event-centric beauty businesses popping up in the near future.
I’d like to see the profession of braiding be legitimized, treated with more respect, and put on-par with other specialties, like skin care and nails.
The fact that braiding is up on the chopping block when we should be developing specialized education and licensing for it disappoints me tremendously, but it doesn’t surprise me, since schools have failed in a substantial way to include ethnic styling in their curriculum or create braiding courses of any kind. They had an opportunity and failed to seize it, so as far as I’m concerned, they’re reaping what they’ve sown.
How will Florida SB 1640 and HB 27 potentially benefit the beauty industry?
SB 1640 would require the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) or the board to enter into reciprocal licensing agreements with other states, which means that finally, our transplant professionals can have their credentials recognized here and get right to work. As someone who owns a business in a snowbird town who would be happy for the seasonal help, this excites me a lot. As a professional who would love to have my nearly 20 years of experience recognized in other states, the idea of reciprocity makes me ecstatic.
CONTINUING EDUCATION CHANGES
SB 1640 reduces our continuing education hours to 10 biennially, down from 16. Since what previously passed as “continuing education” here came in the form of a pathetic paper booklet and a 10-20 question multiple-choice test, I’m not mourning that loss—especially since the tests are taken online and all the answers are found in bold in the study material. (Yes, really.)
BUT GUESS WHAT? Those paper booklets and no-brainer quizzes are no longer our only option!
SB 1640 would also allow approved courses given at cosmetology conferences to count towards continuing education hours.
DO YOU KNOW WHAT THIS MEANS? It means I could probably get some courses approved and provide CE every year at Premiere Orlando, that’s what it means. It also means you might not ever have to pay for continuing education again (if you attend trade shows).
ON-LOCATION RESTRICTIONS RELAXED
I can’t confirm it, but I’m pretty sure we have beauty apps to thank for this (like Glamsquad, which has apparently operated outside of Florida regulations for as long as they’ve been here).
A lot of professionals are freelancing, but our regulations are extremely restrictive, only allowing professionals who are employed by a licensed salon to deliver a limited set of services outside of the licensed facility. Those appointments had to be booked through the salon and all records had to be retained there. If SB 1640 passes, that will no longer be the case.
Freelancers will be able to operate, even if they do not work for a licensed facility.
For professionals who want to specialize exclusively in event work (weddings, fashion shows, etc.), this change will be celebrated.
SB 1640 also expands the services permitted to be performed on-location to include shampooing, cutting, and basic manicuring—which really, it always should have, since a good deal of professionals who do on-location work full-time in Florida specialize in serving people who are medically housebound and/or residing in assisted living facilities. As someone who has spent their entire career serving the elderly and who recognizes how badly our state needs on-location professionals willing to perform those services, I wholeheartedly back this change as well.
How can I voice my opinion to my legislators?
First, get informed. The bills are both long (SB 1640 is 67 pages and HB 27 is 130 pages). Big changes would apply to huge swaths of professions regulated by the DBPR, and we’re only one of the many industries that would be affected, but the parts that pertain to us account for a very small portion of the text. Read it for yourself.
Don’t allow the schools to manipulate you into a frenzy. They have a vested interest in stopping these bills because they will be significantly impacted.
Form your own opinion and present it to your representative from a rational position. Show that you did the research, otherwise our valid concerns won’t be taken seriously. If you launch into an over-the-top doomsday diatribe about death and disease, it’s going to be obvious that you are reciting the propaganda being circulated by the schools, so take a more balanced approach and be prepared to back up your arguments with valid reasoning.
You can find your representative here. I can’t find current information on the members of the Florida House Business & Professions Subcommittee, but if I do, I’ll be sure to update this post to include it.