Despite efforts by beauty industry organizations and professionals to “sunrise” California’s Board of Barbering and Cosmetology, the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) established its Barbering and Cosmetology Program Advisory Council on July 1, 1997, to help govern licensees and protect the public welfare.
The council is made up of 23 representatives of different segments of the beauty industry, including two public members, and it is regulated by the DCA. It provides the DCA with professional and technical assistance and advises it about specific beauty industry issues. “It’s been business as usual,” says Susan Harrigan, assistant program administrator. “We still provide testing, issue licenses, and inspect salons in California. And we discipline salons that harm consumers.”
A variety of organizations in California had worked to forestall the sun-setting of the board. Robert Gross, who was executive director for the now-defunct California Cosmetology Coalition, says that the current advisory council has been very helpful to salons and nail technicians. “Under this new format, there is room for more open discussion,” says Gross. “While the board was concerned with consumer protection first and foremost, the council promotes discussions about industry issues that wouldn’t have been appropriate under the board.”
One example of the council’s progress is its new curriculum review task force. The group has met twice to review the current beauty school requirements for licensing and has made recommendations for change. “We are reviewing what schools are required to teach,” says Harrigan. “We are also analyzing how nail technicians are prepared, to ensure that consumers are protected, that the nail technician has academic freedom, and that what the nail technician is taught is relevant to the marketplace.”
Another industry group, the non-profit Barbering & Cosmetology Legislative Alliance (BCLA), is still actively pursuing the state board’s sunrise. Marcus Moreno, BCLA chairman who is also on the current advisory council, says that the nine-member board had a better structure than that of the council. “With so many council members it is hard to get input from everyone. Also, the council, which has only met about a half-dozen times, has no governing power and, to date, has made no substantial recommendations,” he explains. “The structure of the state board worked because it had nine members who were able to make regulation changes upon industry input immediately.”
Currently, the BCLA has lobbied to bring SB 184, which would re-establish the state board, all the way through to the state assembly. The NMC, as well as many manufacturers, industry labor unions, and distributors, endorse the bill.
“Because of the NMC’s ongoing commitment to ensure that regulatory acts governing the salon industry are fair, representative of the current practice, and provide protection for the health and safety of clients, it supports California salon professionals with regards to SB 184,” says Paul Dykstra, executive director of die ABA.
If SB 184 passes and is signed by the governor before the session ends in August, the California state board will be able to return to power in January 1999. If it is vetoed, Moreno says the BCLA will try again with the newly elected governor.