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The Tennessee Senate has advanced a proposal to loosen state regulations surrounding African-style hair braiding.
Senate lawmakers voted 26-5 on Monday on a bill allowing hair braiders to attend just 16 hours of health and hygiene training. Hair braiders would also have to register with the state and post a notice declaring they are not licensed by the board of cosmetology and barber examiners.
Currently, Tennessee requires hair braiders to complete at least 300 hours of natural hair styling at a cosmetology school.
Opponents argued the deregulation would place the public at risk because some techniques require boiling hot water to set the braid. Supporters countered that practice would not be allowed.
The bill must still clear the House floor before it can head to the governor’s desk.