From Eyelash Extensions To Breastfeeding Consultants, Minnesota Looks At New Licenses

By Maya Rao and J. Patrick Coolican
Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Do more licensing requirements help or hurt women in business? That seems to be the dilemma in Minneapolis where lawmakers, business owners and entrepreneurs are trying to balance safety with cost. Critics argue more licensing requirements are a barrier to upward mobility because they make it more difficult for lower-income people to break into fields that require an expensive license. 

Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

Kae Kozlowski moves a long, sharp tweezer over the woman’s closed eyes. The faux eyelash in its grip is made from genuine mink fur; the next is a blend of nylon and silk. She employs a sculptor’s exactness to attach one fake lash to a real one hundreds of times over the next hour, hair by hair.

These eyelash technicians must possess an artistic flair and obsessive attention to detail. Yet despite the perils of sharp objects dancing millimeters from the delicate skin of an eyelid, the profession does not require a license that establishes standards of training and experience for lengthening eyelashes.

Now Minnesota legislators are debating whether to require licenses for a range of occupations including massage and music therapists, clinical lactation specialists, and eyelash technicians. These proposals are unfolding amid a national debate about the increasing appearance of licensure requirements in jobs that once required none.

A coalition of sometimes-strange ideological bedfellows, from Republican U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan to President Obama, have said licensing requirements are a barrier to upward mobility because they make it more difficult for lower-income people to break into fields that require an expensive license, while adding to costs for consumers.

“If you’re in the boat, you don’t want more people in the boat,” said Morris Kleiner, an economist at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs and a visiting scholar at the Federal Reserve Bank who has studied the subject for decades.

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