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Letter: Public safety mixup

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 14 2012 12:00 a.m. MDT

FILE - In this April 15, 2011 file photo, Jestina Clayton braids the hair of her daughter, Esther Clayton, 5, at her home in Centerville, Utah. Clayton and the the Institute for Justice have filed a federal lawsuit seeking changes to Utah's hair braiding regulations. Clayton wanted to start a hair braiding business in her home near Salt Lake City. She checked with the state to be sure that she didn't need a license, and was told several times she didn't, that braiding wasn't one of the services covered by a license in cosmetology. So she went ahead and in 2009, placed an ad online about her business. She got an e-mail threatening to report her to the state for working without a license if she didn't remove the ad. It turned out that the law had changed, and she could not do braiding without a license. Clayton explored training as a cosmetologist, and found that no school taught braiding. So she would need 2,000 hours of training in other skills she didn't need, simply to have a legal braiding business.

Jim Urquhart, Associated Press

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Let me see if I have this straight. After a ground school and approximately 50 hours of instruction and flight experience, a person can be licensed to take himself or herself and any other trusting soul into the air in a private plane. And after a short school, a few hours of instruction and a few more of supervised driving, a 16-year-old can be licensed to take his or her friends and hurtle them down a highway at a murderous rate of speed.

But to get a license to touch another persons hair requires 2,000 hours of supervised experience and school tuition approaching $16,000. And the Utah barber/cosmetology licensing board wanted to require that Jestina Clayton of Centerville obtain such a permit before being allowed to braid a friend's hair!

Makes sense to me. I cannot imagine why the court sided with Clayton instead of the licensing board. If public safety is indeed the issue, we have it all backwards.

Raymond Mayo

Midway

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