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Wisconsin lawmakers push to end hair discrimination

NOW: Wisconsin lawmakers push to end hair discrimination

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Lawmakers across the country, including Wisconsin, want to ban discrimination based on hairstyles. A bill called the CROWN Act would prohibit hair discrimination in workplaces, schools, and housing.

Tiffany Scott, hairstylist at Billie Jean House of Beauty Brands on the city's north side, says some people avoid wearing textured styles.

"Unfortunately, African-Americans get a bad reputation with wearing dreadlocks and braided styles. It can be viewed as untamed."

Scott says it's so they won't be discriminated against.

"A lot of women in particular have that problem when they're going on job interviews."

The Create a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair (CROWN) Act could change that. It would make it illegal to discriminate based on a person's hairstyle, such as dreadlocks, twists and braids.

"Those are definitely protective hairstyles that help women and men kind of keep it in a healthy state and help it grow," she said.

The bipartisan bill was introduced by State Rep. LaKeshia Myers (D-Milwaukee). "I felt that with the increasing minority population in the state of Wisconsin, I think it's more important now, more so than ever as we continue to look at different employers coming to our state."

In 2018, a New Jersey high school wrestler was forced to cut his locs by a referee or forfeit the game. Video of the incident went viral.

"We have a lot of professional athletes, Devante Adams on the Packers has dreads and I don't see why it would cause any problem with playing a game,” Scott said. “The hair can be pulled back."

California is the first state to make the CROWN Law official. Kansas is considering similar legislation.

The YWCA of Madison and the ACLU of Wisconsin both support the legislation. As for what’s next, the ethics committee will vote on the bill in executive session.

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