Gov. Sununu signs bill decriminalizing unlicensed hair cuts

By Christian Wade | The Center Square

Cutting someone’s hair without a professional license is no longer a crime in New Hampshire under a bill signed by Gov. Chris Sununu.

The new law updates the state’s occupational license laws to exempt services “provided without remuneration” from license requirements for barbering, cosmetology, and esthetics. Sununu signed the legislation along with a dozen other bills on Thursday.

Under the previous law, cutting hair without a state license is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by a fine up to $2,000 or one year in prison.

Public domain

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu

The previous restrictions covered other professions and banned anyone from hiring a person “to engage in a practice regulated by this chapter, unless such person then holds a valid license or a temporary permit issued by the board to practice the respective profession.”

While the law is meant to prohibit unlicensed barber shops and other underground operations, it also means that cutting your neighbors’ hair could technically get you arrested.

The regulations became an issue during the pandemic when barbershops and hair stylists were forced to close to prevent spread of the coronavirus, leaving people with a few options to get a haircut.

The bill’s primary sponsor, Rep. Carol McGuire, R-Epsom, said in recent testimony on the bill that during the pandemic – when hair stylist shops were closed – the restrictions turned people trying to help family, friends or neighbors into criminals just by cutting their hair or trimming their nails.

McGuire and other supporters of the changes say the antiquated law was an affront to the Granite State’s “Live Free or Die” motto.

The measure was opposed by cosmetology groups, who argued that it would provide an opportunity for unlicensed barber shops and other illegal businesses to proliferate.

But the effort to lift the restrictions won support from many conservative groups such as Americans for Prosperity New Hampshire, which called the changes a “sensible step to eliminate the criminalizing of cosmetology without pay.”

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3 thoughts on “Gov. Sununu signs bill decriminalizing unlicensed hair cuts

  1. Well, I’m beginning to believe that the goal of progressives and leftist dem/progs in the peoples legislature is to make everything in Vermont illegal without a license or a permit. That way, they could catch and charge all of us with a crime no matter how big or small which adds to their control of the masses. This is just my opinion but the evidence seems to by fairly strong. What they might not realize is that many of them may get caught up in their own collective plan. How many carpenters will be arrested or fined for a repair or remodel job that that excides $2500.00? Do you see where this can go yet? Freedom is always the answer to better everything. Vote for Freedom, your life may depend on it in the future of 1984 Vermont!

  2. I had to resort to cutting my own hair during the imposition of the government lockdown. The results of those haircuts were indeed Criminal!

  3. My wife, an unlicensed barber, has been cutting my hair for almost 40 years, and I have trimmed her beautiful hair as well.

    We feel good about that

    Thank you, Sununu

    We need more vetoes like that to set us free again from oppressive, centralized governmental tyranny

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