Jerry Kopel

by Jerry Kopel
A harvest? That was my prediction for Governor Bill Owens and his record harvest of vetoes.
But who could have guessed SB 146 would not be vetoed? It crossed the finish line without being tossed in the wastebasket. SB 146 is a Sunset bill that keeps on licensing cosmetologists, barbers, manicurists and other beauty experts until 2015.
The Dept. of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) spent a great deal of time (and 53 pages) sweating over what changes to make in this beauty occupation law. And DORA had some good ideas.
So what did the bill's sponsors, Sen. Ken Kester (R) and Rep. Al White (R) do?  They thumbed their noses at major recommendations by DORA. And to add insult to injury they changed parts of the present law that DORA claimed were fine.
Shop Inspection
This is going to be news for the 43,000 to 44,000 beauty shop occupation licensees in over 4,000 shops Random shop inspections by over-stimulated inspectors are in your future. It's not that you did anything wrong. Nobody filed a complaint with the DORA director against you.
Back in 1990, the legislature ended random inspection in favor of following up on written complaints. In the 2004 Sunset report, DORA claimed the system was working.
So what did Kester and White do? SB 146 gave the DORA division director the duty "to investigate upon his or her own initiative or upon receiving a complaint."
To keep their jobs, zealous inspectors often find and report minor violations having nothing to do with customer safety. Random inspections will likely not happen while Owens is governor, but this new law is good until 2015. Wait until 2007 and see what the new DORA director "does".
As DORA pointed out, the cost of random inspection will require more inspectors,  additional funding, and take away priority from written complaints.
Unneeded Testing
The beauty occupation law requires applicant to pass a practical exam, using a dummy to work on, as well as a written exam on health and safety. According to DORA's report, three applicants "perform the practical exam (at the same time) in front of only one proctor. The candidate's score is entirely within discretion of that proctor. Psychometrically , this is unacceptable."
DORA wanted Colorado to join seven other states that have done away with the practical exam. DORA writers spent four and one-half pages, single space, small type on why the practical exam should be repealed.
Kester and White ignored the recommendation.
You know what will happen the next time applicants fail the practical exam? They will sue and get easy wins based on the DORA report.
Outsourcing grading
Back in 1990 we had 20,000 licensees. It took three weeks out of the lives of the 2,000 annual applicants waiting for the written test results. We changed the law and required written tests to be graded in Colorado. This shaved the waiting period from weeks to days.
There are now 43,000 to 44,000 licensees. Under SB 146, written tests no longer have to be graded in Colorado. If SB 146 had been the law from 1991 until now, the lost income for new beauty licensees would have been $23 million: Assume the 20,000 licensees from 1990 are still practicing. Multiply 100 (two and a half weeks) times 23,000 times $10 an hour.
DORA did not recommend any changes as to grading tests in Colorado. Present law allows outsourcing to non-DORA persons within Colorado. Kester and White repealed that requirement. New applicants can thank them for lost income from longer waits while grading occurs out of state.
SB 146 ignored recommendations made by DORA. SB 146 threw out time-tested changes made in 1990. DORA's report recommended less regulation. SB 146 and Kester  and White provided more regulation.
A veto of SB 146 would have, under the Sunset law, kept present law in place with a 2006  opportunity to submit a new bill.
SB 146 should have been vetoed. Why wasn't it?
(Jerry Kopel served 22 years in the Colorado House.)

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