A news service for the people of Michigan from the Mackinac Center for Public Policy

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Barber Bill Barely Takes Anything Off The Top

Wholesale changes — not minor trims — to business regulations needed in Michigan

There are a couple of things I look for in a barber, but the fact they are required to have more training hours in the classroom than a lawyer is not one of them. 

That’s right, as Michigan Capitol Confidential has chronicled, if you want to cut hair in this state you need to spend 2,000 hours training before you can use the shears on strangers. But if you want to put out your shingle in defense of justice, 1,200 hours will do.


Hopes were raised briefly last week when a bill was introduced by Sen. Hoon-Yung Hopgood, D-Taylor, that would modify the hours required for barbers to get into the business. Unfortunately, Senate Bill 612 only trims the requirement to 1,800 hours.

That's like shaving off one sideburn.

Sen. Hopgood introduced the bill on behalf of a constituent who was unable to immediately get a job in Michigan because he did his barber training in Ohio, which requires 1,800 hours. To make up for the 200-hour deficit, he would have had to work in Ohio for six months before having the privilege of cutting hair up here.

Sen. Hopgood seems to understand the fundamental problem with the state’s barber requirement — "overly strict requirements" — but his solution falls flat.

"Michigan's overly strict requirements on this issue create a disincentive for individuals to pursue barbering in our state and create unnecessary challenges for out-of-state trained barbers to be licensed here," he said in a press release. "This commonsense amendment to Michigan's law would address both concerns, ensuring that this career path be just as feasible in the State of Michigan as any other throughout the U.S."

However, being "just as good as Ohio" isn't the benchmark Michigan needs to meet.

Michigan needs to revise its business regulations across the board and barber regulations are as good a place as any to make wholesale changes. The solution isn't dropping the hours by a nominal amount to match bad regulations in other states.

The solution is making fundamental changes that make it easier for entrepreneurs, employers and individuals to succeed without the heavy hand of government beating down upon them.

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See also:

1,200 Hourse To Be a Lawyer, But 2,000 To Be a Barber