Now you can braid hair in Nebraska without getting arrested

Mar 28, 2016 at 10:23 p.m. ET
Image: RuslanDashinsky/E+/Getty Images

Brandy McMorris turned to hair braiding when her husband lost his job. She eventually booked enough work to make it her full-time gig and the money was rolling in.

Business was so big that she eventually contacted the state of Nebraska to find out the licensing requirements to open her own studio. That's when everything came crashing down.

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"She answered that I needed a cosmetologist’s license," McMorris told the Omaha World Herald of her conversation with the state official. "She told me, ‘You’re breaking the law and need to stop.’"

So, the Omaha woman did just that. "I didn’t take one red cent from anyone from the day I got off the phone with her." The reason: Nebraska law required a cosmetology license for hair braiding, something that costs nearly $20,000 and two years to obtain.

Instead of waiting around, McMorris worked with a Nebraska state senator to introduce a bill that lifted that requirement.

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"For somebody who is a young single female, potentially a young single mom, who doesn’t have a lot [of] resources and is already struggling to make ends meet, cosmetology in the state of Nebraska is expensive," Senator Nicole Fox told The Daily Signal.

Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts signed it into law earlier this month, making the state one of 16 that doesn't require cosmetology degrees in order to braid hair. Fifteen U.S. states still require the specialty license in order to braid hair legally, while the remaining states (and Washington, D.C.) require 1,000 hours of cosmetology training to be legal as a hair braider.

Lifting the barrier helps entrepreneurs like McMorris make money without going through an arduous and costly process, Fox said.

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"It’s the pursuing of the American Dream," she told the website. "I think when you start taking risks and accomplishing things, it kind of makes you, the entrepreneur, set the bar higher and try to accomplish more."