Lawmaking for the Professional Beauty and Cosmetology Industry and How You CAN Make a Difference
The barbering, cosmetology and esthetician industries are constantly changing, from style trends to legislation. And while you may be able to adapt to changes in hairstyles, makeup and skincare treatments in a heartbeat, understanding how to make an impact on legislation and lawmaking feels a little more daunting. If you are someone who finds themselves intimidated by the legal jargon and have no idea how to make your voice heard, rest assured: you are not alone!
Let’s start by understanding the lawmaking process.
- It all starts with a proposed bill. Bills are legislative ideas. Legislators sponsor bills and introduce them to the state legislature during a legislative session. Bills/legislation are basically ideas that become law once the governor signs off on it.
- Once bills are introduced on the floor of a chamber (the House/Assembly or Senate), they are then assigned to a legislative committee for analysis and voting. The committee is your opportunity to testify in favor of the bill, suggest amendments to the bill or oppose the bill.
- If the bill passes through the first committee, it goes to the floor of the chamber for a second reading, where there might be further debate among legislators, or it could be referred to a second committee hearing and public comment period.
- The final vote in the first chamber is the third reading. If it passes through the third reading, it typically goes to the second chamber and is assigned to a committee for analysis and voting. Some states pass bills after going through one chamber, but that is uncommon.
- If the bill makes it through both chambers, it goes to the governor for signature. Once a governor signs a bill, it becomes law.
Now that we have a better understanding of the extensive process it takes to turn an idea into a bill and then a bill into a law, how can you participate and let your voice be heard?
There are several ways! The general public is allowed to attend public hearings, call their legislators, and submit written comments by letter, email or electronic forms during the entire legislative session. Some of the most effective actions that can be taken include:
- Writing an email to the representative and senator who represents your district, to all sponsors of the bill and to the committee leadership.
- Attend a public hearing. Public hearings are usually posted on committee calendars or on the bill summary pages. Public hearings allow you to verbally share your comments and go on official record. The public is typically given just a few minutes to testify, so just make sure you prepare notes to keep it brief and straight to the point
- The only time a citizen can testify is in committee hearings. Other debates at the capitol are usually done among legislators.
- Once out of committee, citizens can still email or call their legislator, bill sponsors or key voters before votes on the floor of the chamber.
Keep in mind, if there’s a particular subject you feel strongly about, you don’t need to wait for the legislative session or bills to contact your legislators. It can be useful to have meetings with legislators and educate them about your profession early on.
Another great resource is to contact your professional beauty/barbering/cosmetology/esthetician associations for updates on what is happening in your state and how you can get involved. Organizations like Associated Hair Professionals (AHP) and Associated Skin Care Professionals (ASCP) have a team that is constantly monitoring bill activity across the entire country and tracks the progress of bills that could have an impact on the cosmetology industry and, in some cases, send out email alert updates to their members. ASCP and AHP also target their communications to legislators when bills are in the first committee to influence the lawmaking process early on.
It’s so important to stand up for your profession and career. Let these tips help you reach out in confidence to your committees to let your voice be heard and make a difference in your industry!
Associated Hair Professionals (AHP) and the Associated Skin Care Professionals (ASCP) is a membership organization providing comprehensive liability insurance and business support resources for professional hairstylists and barbers.
And we are excited to announce that through our new partnership, we can now offer Salonch Members an exclusive discount on membership with AHP and ASCP! To learn more about your savings, check out the links below!