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‘Booth renting’ salon bill will not move forward in state Legislature

(Pexels)

A bill that would have made it illegal for stylists and barbers to rent out booths in salons and shops will not move forward, according to its main sponsor, Washington State Senator Karen Keiser.

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“I heard from hundreds of hairdressers who feared Senate Bill 5326 was a threat to their chosen profession,” Sen. Keiser said Thursday. “I want to be clear that it was never my intent to cause stress and anxiety to salon workers, much less jeopardize their livelihood.”

Senate Bill 5326 has gone through a few iterations since it was first introduced. In its initial form, it only included cosmetologists, and made it illegal for a salon to rent out booths to stylists (a practice that’s the norm in the industry).

Amendments to the bill later included barbers as well, while axing the section that made it illegal to rent booths. In its latest form, it mainly removes select exemptions for booth renters related to unemployment insurance, worker’s compensation, and B&O taxes.

On Monday, hundreds of barbers, stylists, and cosmetologists flooded the state Legislature to provide testimony on the salon bill, largely united against its passing.

“If the intent of this bill is to level the playing field, it may mean my family doesn’t eat, or have a home to live in,” said one Moses Lake stylist during Monday’s testimony.

A day layer, one of the salon bill’s original sponsors, Republican State Sen. Ann Rivers, expressed skepticism that the controversial bill would even make it out of committee. As it turns out, she was spot on.

In a statement of her own, Sen. Keiser noted that she was moved by Monday’s testimony.

As a legislator, it is my responsibility to listen when people tell me something is wrong and to thoughtfully make sure any legislative proposal achieves its intended goals without causing unintended consequences. Thanks to your outreach, it was made clear that this bill fell short of those requirements.

SB 5326 never made it to a formal vote on the floor of the state Legislature.

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