Breanna Reeves |

The California Assembly Business and Professions Committee voted to amend Senate Bill 803 on July 15 after professionals in the cosmetology and barbering industry expressed opposition to the bill’s amendments by protesting at the capitol. 

SB 803 was read for a second time and amended again.

In June, professionals protested at Senator Richard Roth’s district office at the State Capitol. The amendments to the bill were initially introduced in February by Senator Roth who represents Corona, Moreno Valley, Norco, Eastvale, Jurupa Valley, Riverside and Perris. 

The bill amends a variety of requirements and thresholds that were initially in place such as the number of hours of training needed and eliminates pre-apprentice training for those applying for licenses.

Professionals in the cosmetology and barbering industry protest SB 803 at the state capitol. (Photo courtesy of the Barber Society LA via Instagram.)

“It guts the education and training of our next generation of barbers/cosmos by slashing their schooling from 1500/1600 down to 1000 hours for both and by terminating the hands-on, practical portion of the licensing exam,” said Fred Jones, legal counsel and lobbyist for the Professional Beauty Federation of California, in an email. 

Lorenzo Griffin and his wife, Wanda, are the Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer of LaRan Professional Hair Care System, a line of professional hair care products. Griffin has been in the industry for 35 years and strongly opposes SB 803 and believes this bill will eventually deregulate the entire cosmetology and barbering industry.

The Importance of Black Beauty- and Barbershops

“The Black-owned beauty salons & barbershops are the very last economic engines in our communities on a national level,” Griffin said in an email. “You go into any city in the USA and you will find Black-owned beauty salons & barber shops. These businesses have been a vital part of our community as long as we have been in this country.”

Lorenzo Griffin has been in the industry for 35 years and strongly opposes SB 803 and believes this bill will eventually deregulate the entire cosmetology and barbering industry.  (Photo courtesy of Lorenzo Griffin)

Licensed professionals and those who work in the industry have encouraged supporters to call the senator and express their opposition to the bill and continue to spread the word about the consequences of the bill’s amendments.

“This bill, as just amended today, remains problematic. It will drastically reduce the quality of education/training of our next generation of licensed professionals, placing consumers at greater risk of harm,” said Jones. 

According to a petition circulating to #StopSB803, “SB-803 doesn’t make cosmetology education any cheaper, it simply removes a third of the education. Buying a car for 33% off seems like a great deal until you realize that the car you bought is missing a third of its parts.”

A Call to Action

Cosmetology and barbering professionals, such as members of Barber Society of Los Angeles, continue to protest the bill and the new amendments by circulating the #StopSB803 petition and encouraging those in the industry to contact their local State Senator and Assembly members to oppose the “gutting” of the bill.

“After a year of COVID lockdowns, now is not the time to fundamentally undermine the health/safety training underlying our regulated profession that has been licensed since 1927,” according to a post published by the Professional Beauty Federation of California.

Breanna Reeves is a reporter in Riverside and uses data-driven reporting to cover issues that affect the lives of Black Californians. Breanna joins Black Voice News as a Report for America Corps member. Previously, Breanna reported on activism and social inequality in San Francisco and Los Angeles, her hometown. Breanna graduated from San Francisco State University with a bachelor’s degree in Print & Online Journalism. She received her master’s degree in Politics and Communication from the London School of Economics. Contact Breanna with tips, comments or concerns at or via twitter @_breereeves.

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