hair_braiding.jpgPORTLAND, Ore. (AP) _ A group of Portland-area lawmakers say they'll sponsor the Natural Hair Act in next year's session of the Legislature to ease the licensing regulations on people who braid hair.


Rep. Alissa Keny-Guyer says right now the state is criminalizing hair braiders or forcing them to go to Washington.

The Oregonian reports ( ) one of them is Amber Starks who started a hair-braiding business in Vancouver after she discovered she needed a cosmetology license to do the work in Oregon.

That could mean spending up to 1,700 hours in a beauty school with tuition of more than $10,000.

Starks says braiding is a way for African-American women to start to feel comfortable with wearing their hair naturally, without chemicals.

Braiders typically do not use chemicals, heat or scissors.