Wisconsin Democracy Campaign
Campaign Cash

Walker Signs Koch Bills to Loosen Licensing

ALEC-developed bills reduce training requirements for barbers, cosmetologists, others.

By - Nov 30th, 2017 11:30 am
Gov. Scott Walker. Photo from the State of Wisconsin.

Gov. Scott Walker. Photo from the State of Wisconsin.

GOP bills backed by a Koch brothers group, which loosen education requirements for barbers, cosmetologists, manicurists and others, were signed into law by Republican Gov. Scott Walker on Monday.

Senate Bills 108 and 109, were modeled after proposals developed by a corporate bill mill called the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). ALEC hawks pro-business economic and social policy proposals to state legislators around the country.

SB108 eliminates continuing education requirements for barbers, cosmetologists, aestheticians, manicurists, and electrologists, except for disciplinary reasons. It also ditches a requirement that these professionals have at least 4,000 hours of licensed experience if they move from another state to work in Wisconsin. The new law also requires license applicants to take a one-hour course on Wisconsin laws and rules that apply to their profession.

SB108’s sole backer was Americans for Prosperity, a secretive rightwing ideological electioneering group funded by billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch.

SB109 permits the practice of cosmetology, aesthetics, manicuring, and barbering outside of a licensed establishment if the licensee owns, manages, or works for a licensed establishment. Under current law, those professionals may only practice outside of a licensed establishment to serve clients who are homebound, or in a hospital, nursing home, or prison. The new law also eliminates a separate license required for cosmetology and barbering managers.

SB109 had only two backers – Americans for Prosperity and the Texas Public Policy Foundation, another Koch-backed rightwing group that began lobbying in Wisconsin this year. It is reportedly one of the Lone Star state’s most powerful conservative lobbying groups.

Neither of these groups has made direct campaign contributions to Wisconsin candidates, but Americans for Prosperity has spent an estimated $5.7 million since January 2010 to support conservative and Republican legislative and statewide candidates in Wisconsin.

ALEC was created in the 1970s and is made up of powerful special interests and state legislators who create and exchange model legislation that can be introduced in statehouses across the country. ALEC has also received funding from the Koch brothers, and Koch Industries is a member of ALEC.

10 thoughts on “Campaign Cash: Walker Signs Koch Bills to Loosen Licensing”

  1. Terry says:

    There’s gonna be a lot of wonky haircuts and weird bangs in Wississippi! Oh wait, there already are…Now I wish Walker would get serious and sign the Koch Brother’s backed bill ending cannabis prohibition in Wisconsin so people would move back to WI, invest in the state again and all the unemployed, hopeless people up north could have good paying jobs and agri-businesses again. Yet the tractors sit idle and the land remains fallow. SAD.
    Dump Walker

  2. Mandi says:

    I think cosmetologists, and the other workers affected, would like to be licensed so they can advertize their education and experience allowing them to provide a better service… so they can differentiate themselves from the untrained, unlicensed people that may provide potentially cheaper, but worse, services. What about public health? With licensing, the consumer wins with better services and trained workers benefit with recognition of their skills. Think about the sign-language fiasco that has happened in other states where unlicensed people performed “fake” sign language motions and the unfortunate hearing-impaired people of course had no real message communicated to them. I think this cosmetology bill is just a “harmless” first step into a slippery slope where people doing more potentially dangerous work will also become unlicensed.

  3. MollyO says:

    Oh good. Now I can be a beautician and open a voucher school. I have little or no experience-
    wanna sign up?

  4. Eric S says:

    Mandi, those are very good points. As you mention, in addition to helping consumers, workers benefit as well – evidence suggests that such licenses help to reduce discrimination in employment.

  5. MKE Kid says:

    Oh good! Now I can make some extra cash by giving Tonette home permanents.
    I cannot believe what our once proud and honest state government has become in only 6 years. Governor Knowles is rolling in his grave. Sad times, indeed.

  6. WashCoRepub says:

    Pot, windpower, and highly compensated public employees. That’s the Dems’ ‘economic plan’ in a nutshell, folks. Thanks for not supporting it.

  7. Terry says:

    @WashCorepug, it sure beats the republicans “plan” of giving 3 Billion dollars of our tax dollars in corporate welfare to a Taiwainese, ahem, Chinese company! All for low pay soon to be automated away jobs! That’s not conservatism. Stay tuned folks. Operation “Dump Walker in 2018” is about to begin!

  8. will says:

    Hell, we have a uneducated governor who had to cheat to get thrown out of Marquette. The war against education continues under the GOP. WMC needs more babies born in Wisconsin to work those poverty jobs being created, while other states move boldly into the future.

  9. Jake currently of the MKE says:


    Considering you are a servant of the party of Pedophiles, Traitors, and the insanely Wealthy makes your opinion worthless.

    What depths will you go to rationalize and make excuses for your monetary betters? Get on your knees or bend over, either way you are a repugnant tool.

  10. Jake formerly of the LP says:

    From one Jake to another-

    There is little doubt WashCo boy is literally a servant of the GOP, either as a party hack, or through getting wingnut welfare through some fake RW “charity” that’s run by the Bradleys or the Kochs.

    Call me crazy, but I like having standards for my services. Better for the economy when we have that confidence of competence, as well. But anything to lower wages and worker power, I guess.

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