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Oklahoma Cosmetologists Concerned About Deregulation Bill

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BROKEN ARROW, Oklahoma -

Cosmetologists across Green Country are fired up about a bill that would deregulate their industry. News on 6 first told you about the possibility in November. 

11/20/2017 Related Story: Oklahoma Cosmetologists Upset Over Proposed Licensing Changes

It's one step closer to reality and it's up for a first reading next week.

It repeals the cosmetology and barbering act currently on the books. 

A Broken Arrow Senator says there's too much red tape to get a license, but cosmetologists are raising the red flag. 

"Hairstylists and this industry, in general, get a reputation of being very creative and imaginative, and they are. But they're also very educated. We're working with chemicals, we're working with waxing, eyelash extensions, that's working with sharp tweezers, glue around the eyes."

The co-owners at Berkshire Salon and Day Spa in Broken Arrow say 1,500 hours of training are required to get a cosmetology license isn't even enough. 

"They have all the time in the world to read the books and do the theory, but that's a totally different scenario than practicing on a human head," said Nikki Webster with Berkshire Salon and Day Spa. 

That's why her stylists have to get an additional six to 12 months of training before they get their own clients. 

"This is a business. And we're professionals and we should have a standard," said Lexi McGhee with Berkshire Salon and Day Spa.

But, BA Senator Nathan Dahm wants to cut down on regulations, even getting rid of some cosmetology licenses. 

"We want to make sure that we are a business-friendly environment, that we are allowing people who want to be entrepreneurs, who want to start their own business, that we are making it as easy as possible for them while balancing the health of the general public," Dahm said. 

Dahm said data shows license requirements haven't improved health or services and those other professions need a fraction of the training. 

"EMT's, they only are required 154 hours, versus 1,500 hours for cosmetologists. They, you know, literally have people's lives on the line," Dahm said. 

But, the experts working on faces, skin, nails and hair have one message for lawmakers. 

"Get your facts straight before you make a decision," she said. 

Dahm said this is just a conversation starter as he's meeting with the cosmetology board next week. 

But, that board might not even exist if the bill passes. 

He said licensing could be privatized or transferred to another state agency - or wiped out altogether. 

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