SUMMARY OF: A Sunset Review of the Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development, Board of Barbers and Hairdressers, October 14, 2004.

Purpose of the Report

In accordance with Title 24 and Title 44 of the Alaska Statutes, we have reviewed the activities of the Board of Barbers and Hairdressers (BBH). As required by AS 44.66.050(a), the legislative committees of reference are to consider this report during the legislative oversight process involved in determining if the board should be reestablished. Currently, AS 08.03.010(c)(4) states that the board will terminate on June 30, 2005. If the legislature does not extend the termination date for the board, BBH will have one year to conclude its administrative operations.

Report Conclusions

In our opinion, the termination date for the Board of Barbers and Hairdressers (BBH) should be extended. BBH is effectively regulating the various professions under its purview – barbers, hairdressers, estheticians, manicurists, body piercers, and tattooists. The board is safeguarding the public interest by ensuring individuals have met the minimum educational and experience requirements before being licensed.

BBH serves a public purpose and has demonstrated an ability to conduct its business in a satisfactory manner. The board continues to make changes to regulations to improve the effectiveness of its oversight. Since the last sunset review, BBH has developed a new set of regulations related to tattooists and body piercers.

Under Alaska Statute 08.03.010(c)(4), the Board of Barbers and Hairdressers will be terminated on June 30, 2005. If this termination date is not extended, the board has a one-year period to administratively conclude its affairs. We recommend the Legislature extend the board’s termination date to June 30, 2011.

Findings and Recommendations

  1. The legislature should consider implementing legislation to allow the board to delegate administration of the State’s practical examination to training schools or apprentice supervisors.

To be licensed as a barber, hairdresser, esthetician, or an instructor, an individual must successfully complete two types of examinations. The first is a written examination which is objectively scored and covers subject matter that is central to the primary public policy rationale for licensing the professions involved – licensees have access to, and must know how to safely use, the various chemicals involved in hair care and cosmetology treatments. The second examination is a practical examination which requires the applicant to demonstrate they have mastered the various skills related to the license they are seeking.

The legislature last extended the termination date of the Board of Barbers and Hairdressers (BBH) in 2001. After its deliberations regarding the extension legislation (SB 53), the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee developed the following statement of intent:

The Legislature requests that the Board carefully consider the option of self-testing by the various vocations regulated by the Board and that it consider a pilot program of self-testing. The Legislature specifically requests the Board to research and investigate the results of self-testing in Washington and Oregon.

In response to this legislative intent BBH researched the feasibility of, and developed draft regulations to implement, a delegated testing program for the State’s practical examinations for barbers, hairdressers, estheticians, and instructors. BBH did develop draft regulations to implement a delegated, self-testing program for the practical examination covering four of the licenses issued by the board.

When BBH forwarded the proposed regulations to the Department of Law for review and approval, the board was advised it did not have the necessary statutory authority to implement such a change.

The current board does not support this revision to the examination process. Therefore, we suggest the legislature implement another course of action. The Division of Occupational Licensing should, after consulting with the Department of Law, provide the legislature with suggested statutory language that not only give BBH the authority to delegate the administration of the practical examination, but also mandates the board to take such action.