Legislative Testimony for LB19: Change provisions relating to nail technology and body art

Legislative Testimony for LB19: Change provisions relating to nail technology and body art

Chairman Arch, members of the committee. My name is Laura Ebke. I am the Senior Fellow at the Platte Institute.

In 2019, we testified in opposition to LB607, which is the same bill as LB19 (as introduced). LB607 was advanced from the committee, ultimately passed by the Legislature, and vetoed by the governor because it imposed new licensing requirements not justified by the risk it sought to mitigate for natural nail manicure and pedicures. I am here to testify in opposition to LB19, as well. As in 2018, our opposition is related only to the bill’s nail technology aspect, not to the various body art/guest body artist portions.

As noted on the DHHS Cosmetology and Esthetics website, the current status of the law is that [quote]: “You do NOT need a Nebraska license to do…Manicure or pedicure of the natural nail.” This bill raises the standard for simple manicures and pedicures and would require educational hours, as well as testing. The added cost to become licensed will very probably result in one or more of these things: 1) reduced practitioners in the field of manicures and pedicures; 2) increased costs to consumers, or 3) previously served populations becoming unserved.

The Occupational Board Reform Act (LB299-2018) established a framework whereby committees review all licenses on a 5-year rotation. The Health and Human Services Committee did review Nail Technology and other Cosmetology and Esthetics licenses in the interim of 2020 and did not make any recommendations for any changes.

Nor has a 407 review has been done that I can find.

I met at Senator Kolterman’s request to find common ground with him and nail technology industry representatives last fall.

I submitted a series of data-related questions, seeking to figure out how significant or widespread the problem was with manicure and pedicure safety over the last five years. The responses I received included two injury incidents—allegedly caused by manicures or pedicures. Those cases are being litigated, as I understand it.

When I asked about how many total complaints there had been about improper practices or unclean or unsafe conditions, I was told that DHHS Licensure Division does not track that information, nor does it track complaints on licensed vs. unlicensed providers of nail services.

The decision to regulate an occupation should be made based on real data concerning public safety—not on isolated anecdotes.

The Platte Institute is concerned about creating licensing requirements that didn’t exist previously or increasing licensing requirements without demonstrated need. We oppose this bill, at least until a more detailed review of the data takes place. Given that the HHS Committee churned out five years’ worth of 299 Reviews in one year, we would encourage a deeper dive into this particular area in the next interim.

Thank you, and I’d be happy to take any questions.

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