House Bill 892 (HB 892), which proposed disbanding the state’s Board for Barbers and Cosmetology that regulates education, sanitation and licensing standards for barbers, cosmetologists, tattoo artists and body piercing professionals, was pulled from the General Assembly’s legislative agenda recently due to a lack of interest from lawmakers in Richmond, a representative from Del. Michael Webert’s (VA-18) Richmond office told the News-Press.
Webert originally introduced the bill on Jan. 8 as a part of his overarching legislative initiative of regulatory reform, specifically regarding how state residents procure occupational licenses.
HB 892 was not well-received locally. A meeting at the Neighborhood Barbershop on Jan. 22 saw a small, but hearty group of local barbers discuss their concerns about the bill’s ramifications, with City representatives in Chamber of Commerce member Sally Cole and Police Chief Mary Gavin also in attendance. Dustin Foley, co-owner of the barbershop and moderator at the meeting, noted that if the bill passed it would be the public paying the price more than anyone else. Without an agency to oversee criminal background checks, set educational and sanitary requirements and serve as a liaison for instances of gross negligence by professionals, the public would have no resource to report its grievances to. As a result of less public protections, tradesmen expected to have a harder time acquiring insurance coverage and would have suffered a significant blemish to their professional credibility.