Hair Braiding | St. Louis Public Radio

Hair Braiding

Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

It was a short but busy day for the Missouri House, as they sent three bills - on lobbyist gifts, human trafficking and hair braiding - to the Senate on Wednesday.

For the third year in a row, the House passed legislation banning most gifts from lobbyists to elected officials. The exceptions allowed in the lobbyist gift ban include flowers for weddings, funerals and similar events, and free food at catered events as long as every lawmaker and statewide elected official is invited.

Tameka Stigers, left, and Ivy Perry, right, braid LaQuinn Laws hair in June 2015 in St. Louis.
Provided | Institute for Justice

This spring a few Missouri state lawmakers fought and failed to pass a proposal that would have stripped the requirement for hair braiders to obtain a cosmetology license.

Under current law, those who want to pursue hair braiding as a profession must attend 1,500 hours of cosmetology classes and spend at least $12,000.

Updated with comment from plaintiffs, copy of legal complaint. Updated at 1:35 p.m. to correct spelling of Tameka Stigers' last name. Updated at 2:25 p.m. to correct spelling of Ndioba Niang's first name.

A libertarian advocacy group has filed a federal lawsuit challenging the Missouri law that requires African-style hair braiders to get a cosmetology license or face fines and jail time.