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A Criminal Record Shouldn’t Stop Cosmetologists from Working

Excessive licensing requirements keep a reformed criminal from doing a good deed.

In January of 2017, Juan Carlos Montes de Oca, a Tucson cosmetologist who used to be homeless, organized an event with his classmates called Haircuts for the Homeless. The goal of the event was to offer barber services and manicures to the homeless, including veterans, as a way to do a kind act for others in memory of his mother, who lost her hair during her battle with cancer.

But that goal was subverted when an anonymous observer filed a complaint stating that Montes de Oca was “requesting local businesses and local stylists to help out with free haircuts (unlicensed individuals) to the homeless.” As a result, the Arizona Board of Cosmetology decided to investigate Montes de Oca for providing unlicensed cosmetology services at his charity event, claiming that offering free haircuts without a license is a “real risk.”

Considering how many parents give their children free haircuts, this risk is likely overstated.

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