California Hair Braiding - Release: 12-21-1998

Steve Forbes Endorses Lawsuit to Remove Unfair California State Regulations on African-American Entreprenuers

PRESS RELEASE: December 21, 1998
CONTACT: John Kramer (703) 682-9320

[Economic Liberty]    


Bedminster, New Jersey-Steve Forbes, Honorary Chairman of Americans for Hope, Growth and Opportunity, today endorsed a lawsuit challenging unfair California laws and regulations that restrict African-American entrepreneurs from exercising their right to earn an honest living. Final arguments in the case are being heard today.

The plaintiffs, represented by the Washington, D.C.-based Institute for Justice, are the American Hairbraiding and Natural Haircare Association and Dr. JoAnne Cornwell, Chairwoman of the African American Studies Department at San Diego State University and owner of the Sisterlocks salon in San Diego.

The plaintiffs argue that California laws requiring 1,600 hours of prescribed hair care training and examinations in state approved cosmetology schools are unrelated to African hairstyling, and create an unfair barrier to owning and operating African-American hair care salons. They note that the Board of Barbering and Cosmetology was disbanded after the California Legislature concluded in 1996 that its cosmetology laws had an anti-competitive effect and provided little if any consumer protection. However, the laws continue to be enforced by California's Department of Consumer Affairs.

"What's interesting about this case is that it puts a spotlight on the sort of unfair, government-imposed barriers that hinder minority entrepreneurship," said Mr. Forbes.

"We endorse this case because we hope it will cause leaders at all levels of government to reexamine the barriers to opportunity that they've created." Mr. Forbes added. "It's tough enough to run a successful business in this country. Too many politicians are oblivious to the harm their top-down decrees can cause. But the truth is that the people who tend to get hurt the most by all this red tape are women, minorities and young people. We've got to remove the barriers to starting and owning a business. We've got to make sure that no one gets left behind, that no one is discriminated against as we head into the next century."


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