The Urban League of Portland today welcomed the majority vote in the Oregon State Senate to pass HB3409A on Natural Hair Care. The legislation now goes back to the Oregon House of Representatives where it already passed unanimously, because of minor changes, will then move on to Governor Kitzhaber for signing. The bill creates a special limited license for the practice of natural hair care, which includes brushing, combing, braiding, twisting, plaiting and locking of hair, which is a traditional practice in the African immigrant and native-born African American community.
The bill, introduced by Rep. Alyssa Keny-Guyer was initiated by Amber Starks, pictured above, right, with Urban League director of Advocacy and Public Policy Midge Purcell, center, and Ty Schwoeffermann, left, the Urban League’s Health Equity Associate. Starks is a natural hair care practitioner who wanted to be able to move her Vancouver-based practice to Oregon, and to volunteer her services to African American children in the Oregon foster care system. Currently, all hair stylists need a full cosmetology license, requiring over 1700 hours of costly study.
The Urban League of Portland has been a major supporter and contributor to the passage of HB3409A in the Legislature. Speaking on behalf of the Urban League of Portland, Schwoeffermann said, “We are delighted that our Natural Hair Care Bill passed with such strong support. We will work with all impacted stakeholders to ensure that this law is meaningful and effective. HB 3409A will help remove barriers to the growing natural hair care industry, paving the way for more jobs and increased opportunities for African immigrant and African American businesses.”