At the request of state Senator Anthony H. Williams (D-Phila./Delaware), the Senate Democratic Policy Committee will hold a public hearing this Wednesday in Philadelphia on the senator’s proposal to do away with the cosmetology school licensing requirement for natural hair braiders.

The hearing is set for this Wednesday, December 12 at 11 a.m. in their Versailles Ballroom of the Hilton Philadelphia City Avenue, 4200 City Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19131.

The senate panel is expected to focus on the state’s 300-hour cosmetology training requirement that hair braiders must complete to obtain a Pennsylvania business license. Critics claim the training is costly, unnecessary and discourages interest in the profession.

The policy committee is chaired by Sen. Lisa Boscola (D-Lehigh/Northampton).

Those expected to testify include:

  • Kate Roberts, Deputy Secretary, Governor’s Office of Legislative Affairs;
  • Ian J. Harlow, Acting Deputy Secretary for Regulatory Programs, Commissioner, Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs;
  • Nadia Hewka, Staff Attorney, Community Legal Services of Philadelphia;
  • Eric Edi, PhD., Chief Operating Officer, Coalition of African and Caribbean Immigrant Communities;
  • Astu Balde, Maimouna Thiam, Aissatou Diop, Asttan Sacko, and Adidatou Macauley, hair braiders;
  • Lisa Hopkins, Former Cosmetology Instructor, School District of Philadelphia & Mercy Vocational High School;
  • Kimberly Nesmith, Salon Owner, Cosmetologist;
  • Pearl Baily-Anderson, Salon Owner, Board Certified Trichologist; and
  • Lee McGrath, Senior Legislative Counsel, Institute for Justice


Media coverage is welcome and encouraged.