State Sen. Regina Barrow, D-Baton Rouge
On Wednesday, April 4, 2018 at the Louisiana Senate Commerce Committee, Gov. Edwards went out of his way to let everyone in the room know that he was watching via closed-circuit TV the hearing for Sen. Regina Barrow (D-Baton Rouge)’s SB-370. As originally drafted, Barrow’s bill would double the number of hours required for a hair braiding permit from 500 hours to 1,000 hours (she later amended it back to 500). Her bill would also impose 16 hours of continuing education (originally 24 before amended down to 16) only upon hair braiders and not for holders of full-blown cosmetology licensees.
Soon after he made it known that he was watching, Gov. Edwards had to be in total dismay at the utter train wreck that ensued as evidenced by video highlights of testimony below:
Highlights of testimony at Louisiana Senate Commerce Committee meting on SB-370.
Barrow, a strong ally of Gov. Edwards, nevertheless literally defied his support for Rep. Julie Emerson’s HB-564 which would deregulate the practice of hair braiding and which cleared the House Commerce Committee by a vote of 11-3 and is scheduled for full House floor debate today.
After the conclusion of the March 5, 2018 Cosmetology Board meeting, during which the members expressed extreme opposition to Rep. Emerson’s bill, Sound Off Louisiana‘s Robert Burns approached Board Chairman Edwin Neill and asked, “You do know who is behind HB-564, don’t you?” Neill responded, “Of course I do. It’s the Institute for Justice.” Burns responded, “Okay. It may have Emerson’s name on it, but it’s deeper than that.” Neill’s reply, “So you know of another co-sponsor?” Burns replied, “Either there has been a colossal failure to communicate or someone is lying!” Neill stated, “That’s what I don’t like about you, Mr. Burns. You imagine all these conspiracies that exist in your mind only.” Burns bid him a good afternoon. When Emerson’s bill was pending before the House Commerce Committee on March 26, 2018 (three weeks later), Neill approached Burns and stated, “I was able to solve your riddle,” and had a big smile on his face upon him having gained the knowledge (which clearly he didn’t have on March 5, 2018) that none other than Gov. Edwards himself backs HB-564.
Perhaps in light of the train wreck depicted on the video above, at the April 9, 2018 Cosmetology Board Meeting, Neill stressed heavily that Gov. Edwards and he met privately and that the Cosmetology Board has been given its marching orders from Gov. Edwards to “review all of your regulations and remove any that are unnecessary and inhibiting job growth.” Neill stated that in the following 56-second video clip from that meeting:
At April 9, 2018 Cosmetology Board meeting, Chairman Edwin Neill gives Gov. Edwards’ marching orders on deregulation to promote job growth.
What’s unclear is whether these appointees have any inclination to adhere to Gov. Edwards’ orders. In one unfavorable sign that they may not, Board Attorney Sherri Morris, in this 10-second video clip from the April 4, 2018 Commerce Committee meeting, stated that the Board has several high-school cosmetology programs. What Morris did not mention is the Board’s steadfast resolve to close these programs down if they can’t afford to hire a second instructor no matter how small their classes may be (the same is true of private schools, and formed the basis for the closure of Nelda Dural’s Iberia School of Cosmetology). Here is a video clip of a public school teacher, Raynetta Frazier, begging the Board not to close her school down for that very reason:
On June 13, 2016 (six months after Gov. Edwards was sworn into office), Raynetta Frazier has to plead with Edwards’ appointees not to shut her public school down because it can’t afford a second instructor.
Regarding Burns’ reference to the $11,725 tuition for hair braiding during his testimony in the Senate Commerce Committee video above, as one of the proponents of Barrow’s bill rudely asked Burns what state the school is located (thus demonstrating a total lack of knowledge on her part), Burns responded, “It’s in Louisiana, and it’s owned by one of the Cosmetology Board Members (James Williams),” that flyer is provided below:
Another huge embarrassment for the proponents of Barrow’s bill was Burns having to point out that one of their key supporters, Willie Payne, had his cosmetology school license revoked for having manufactured fraudulent high school diplomas from Belaire High School for Vietnamese students who’d never set foot on the campus of Belaire High School and also had such limited grasp of the English language that they simply trusted him in signing all the paperwork he placed in front of them. Here is video coverage of one of the victims’ plights in begging the Board to honor her Texas cosmetology license through reciprocity despite her ordeal at Payne’s school:
The husband of a Vietnamese nail salon operator has to beg and plead with the Louisiana Board of Cosmetology to let his wife “live the American dream” and operate her nail salon after she moved from Texas and was attempting to obtain a license in Louisiana through reciprocity.
The Cosmetology Board has extensive problems, to wit:
- In early April of 2015, LSBC official Winn Johnson pled guilty to selling answers to the LSBC cosmetology licensing exam for $500/pop.
- Former Congressman Joseph Cao stating before the same Senate Commerce Committee that, “The Board has no respect for the law.”3. Prominent cosmetologist Chris Guidry, who is a graduate of Chairman Neill’s Aveda Institute, stating that the “Board has no regard to the guest or the craft and is a straight money grab,” as depicted in the following online post Guidry made:
With all this in mind, we urge Gov. Edwards to hod the Cosmetology Board’s feet to the fire entailing following his mandate because they have an extensive history of slamming the door on aspiring job seekers, and that is particularly true for the African American community, which is one of his key support groups which placed him in the Governor’s Mansion.
Finally, we believe that, with all of the extensive problems of the Cosmetology Board, they simply have not proven themselves worthy of the 40% license fee increase they seek via HB-491 by Rep. Robert Johnson (D-Marksville), and we would urge House members to vote against that license fee increase when it comes up for a vote later today on the House floor!
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