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Update: Proposed Tennessee bill to allow cosmetologists & many other professions to work without a license killed in legislature

The bill no longer has a chance of passing in either chamber.


State Senator Janice Bowling, a co-sponsor of the bill, said in a statement that both the House and Senate bills were killed when legislators placed them in subcommittees.

That means licenses will still be required to practice all the professions listed below. 

Original Story: 

A proposed bill in the Tennessee legislature would allow unlicensed workers in certain fields to do business, as long as the customer knows and acknowledges that fact.

Knoxville Rep. Martin Daniel introduced HB 1945 in the house while Sen. Janice Bowling of Tullahoma sponsored it in the senate.

The bill includes a long list of professions that normally require a license, registration or certification including cosmetologists, accountants, home inspectors, plumbers, real estate brokers, and tattoo artists. (See full list below).

If passed, lacking the proper licensing would not prevent people from performing the duties of that profession. To do so, the client must sign paperwork acknowledging they know about the lack of license and agree to release the person performing the work from all liability that may arise from the person's performance of the work, except for an action brought for intentional, willful, or malicious conduct."

RELATED: Bill blog: What Tennessee lawmakers are talking about in 2020

Cosmetologists are already rallying opposition to the bill on social media, like the post below from the Tennessee School of Beauty: 

Here's the latest update from one of my school owner friends on the ... bill to allow non-licensed individuals to perform cosmetology services: Hey Adam Chip talked to Senator Bowling's office this morning. She is looking at making "adjustments" to the bill she has filed.

"If God forbid somebody loses their eye because chemicals get in there, who cares if you signed a wavier," Tennessee School of Beauty owner Adam Brown said. "I think if just anyone can do services a lot of these salons will end up closing." 

Cosmetology student Babs Benson agrees. She was a stay-at-home mom for seventeen years, but decided to get her professional license. 

"I don’t think it’s in the best interest of our society to just let anyone do these things when you really need to know the safety measures and the handling and procedures," she said. "There needs to be a standard and stipulation for health procedures." 

Lawmaker Daniel said the bill just acknowledges an existing practice. 

"This goes on anyway and probably down the street from you, people are cutting hair of their friends and neighbors," he said. 

"Many of the occupational licensing regulations and laws here in Tennessee are not really related to public health safety or welfare, but are actually more the result of special interest lobbying," Daniel added. 

List of professions included in the bill: 

(1) Accountants;

(2) Architects, engineers, landscape architects, and interior designers;

(3) Barbers;

(4) Cosmetologists;

(5) Funeral directors and embalmers;

(6) Contractors;

(7) Home inspectors;

(8) Plumbers;

(9) Home improvement contractors;

(10) Locksmiths;

(11) Real estate brokers;

(12) Land surveyors;

(13) Soil scientists;

(14) Auctioneers;

(15) Individuals engaged in the application of pesticides;

(16) Rental location agents;

(17) Private investigators;

(18) Polygraph examiners;

(19) Individuals engaged with fire protection sprinkler systems;

(20) Servicers of fire extinguishers and related equipment;

(21) Alarm contractors;

(22) Private protective services;

(23) Geologists;

(24) Tattoo artists;

(25) Body piercing artist;

(26) Real estate appraisers; and

(27) Professional employer organizations.

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