After outcry and organizing, the bill in the Washington State Senate that would jeopardize independent hairdressers and stylists is dead.
A sponsor of the bill, Senator Karen Keiser, released a statement this morning that read: “Thank you to everyone from across the state who have reached out to us in Olympia. I heard from hundreds of hairdressers who feared Senate Bill 5326 was a threat to their chosen profession. I want to be clear that it was never my intent to cause stress and anxiety to salon workers, much less jeopardize their livelihood."
The bill, in its original form, would have banned booth rentals, a business model that the hairdresser industry thrives on, especially in Washington. It is essentially an independent contractor model where stylists rent booths in salons and pay rent each month. Outrage followed. Keiser changed the bill but didn't kill it. The updated language still required these independent contractors to pay the same taxes—like unemployment tax—that commission-based salons pay to "even the playing field."
However, over 1,000 hairdressers flooded the public hearing for the bill in Olympia on Monday. The vast majority spoke out in opposition to the bill.
“As a legislator," Keiser's statement continued, "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. I will still work hard to promote fair employment practices and will be focusing my time on legislation regarding non-compete contracts.”
Those two additional bills will attempt to redefine independent contractors as a whole. The progress of those bills has the potential to dictate Powers's fate, as well as the fate of many workers in other industries.
"I am extremely proud of my industry," Powers told The Stranger. "I’m proud to be a hairdresser. It's great knowing my industry is going to stand behind each other no matter what. The government, on the other hand, I'm a little worried about."