Among the many goofy occupational licensing laws in these United States, Arizona’s licensing for professional blow-drying services is up there with the silliest.
“Under current law, using a blow-dryer on someone else’s hair, for money, requires more than 1,000 hours of training and an expensive state-issued license,” we learn at Reason. “Blow-drying hair without a license could — incredibly — land you in jail for up to six months.”
This came into the news because of a campaign to deregulate the cosmetology industry — just a bit, anyway. Gov. Doug Ducey, in his recent State of the State address, “mocked the state agency that licenses stylists, barbers, nail technicians and affiliated professionals in Arizona, and endorsed legislation to remove training requirements for those who simply wash, brush and blow-dry customers’ hair.”
Licensed cosmetologists — well, at least some organized ones — have gone into a tizzy.
Hardly surprising, since occupational licensing, though usually argued for on consumer safety grounds, rarely finds consumers clamoring for it.
It’s groups of established businesses, professionals.*
Brandy Wells, the sole non-cosmetologist on the state board overseeing the regulation of the industry, supports the liberalizing bill. So of course she has been called every name in the book. But even she was amused by one stylish denigration: “your logic on deregulation of cosmetology is much like your hair, dull and flat.”
The issue may seem trivial, with not all that much on the line — though jobs are . . . and freedom is.
But it doesn’t lack for hot air.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.
* As Adam Smith argued, whenever businessmen (“dealers”) in the same industry group together, their proposals should be listened to “with great precaution.”