Getting Clipped At The Statehouse

By Cyndy Rees


Earlier last week 3rd Rail reported that if you want to pass a bill call former Congressman Pat Tiberi.


Well, with lightning speed, Sub. H.B. 189 passed through the House this week after being on hold since last year.


The Sub bill was reintroduced two weeks ago, with 24-hours notice.  At that time it was scheduled to be voted out of committee.  Committee Chairman Louis W. Blessing III, agreed to hold another hearing and allowed two individuals to testify before the committee. Two individuals provided opposition testimony before the committee. No proponent testimony was provided before the committee, perhaps because they knew the bill moving was a done deal.  All other's were required to submit written testimony.


With such significant and complicated changes to the licensure of cosmetologist why the rush?  It appears Ohio State Cosmetology Board member and salon magnate Charles Penzone, called in a favor to former Congressman Pat Tiberi.  Penzone has donated over $41,000 to Tiberi during his tenure in Congress.   


Our source, who is very much in the know, confirmed Tiberi put in a call to Speaker Rosenberger asking to have the legislation move.  Representative Bill Seitz even stated during the hearing this week that he is "voting for this bill because this is what the Speaker and Chairman want." 


3rd Rail reached out to Tiberi for comment, but did not receive a response at the time of this publication.


$41,000 would seem to go a long way.


Substitute H.B. 189 is a big business bill that cripples the ability of the 75,000 individuals who currently hold cosmetology licenses in Ohio from developing their own business. It impacts the over 130,000 current Ohio license holders because their license will be dumbed down.  It all but ensures individuals who invest in hair franchises will have access to quick, cheap labor.  


That is right, this is the quick, cheap labor bill.


H.B. 189 is the brain child of salon owner Charles Penzone and Clara Osterhage.  Osterhage owns 62 Great Clips franchises and also serves on the Ohio State Board of Cosmetology.  


Packaged as a way to reduce government regulation and oversight, Sub. H.B. 189 cuts the hours required to receive a cosmetologist license from 1,500 to 1,000 hours.  It also eliminates every  "optional" education license. To repeat, advanced education options will no longer be available.  Every contiguous state requires more hours of training than Ohio.  If Sub. H.B. 189 becomes law, Ohio will be one of three states in the nation that only require 1,000 hours of training.  New York and Massachusetts are the other two. 


The Sub. bill was introduced two weeks ago, and last week there was a hearing with two individuals who oppose the legislation testifying.  While over 150 cosmetologists attended the hearing, filling two overflow rooms, none of these individuals were permitted to speak before the committee.  

The Committee was in a rush.  One hearing after the introduction of the Sub. bill and they voted the bill out on party lines with a 9-4 vote. Republican committee members who voted for the bill:  Committee Chairman Louis W. Blessing III, Representatives Blessing, Greenspan, Lipps, McClain, Pelanda, Reineke, Seitz and Smith.  Democrat committee members who voted against the bill:  Representatives Clyde, Kelly, Kennedy Kent and Sweeney.


3rd Rail also sought comment from Representative Kennedy Kent (D-Columbus) regarding her opposition to the bill.  We have not receive a response at this time. 


This bill impacts nearly every Ohioan as one assumes most people get their hair cut by a licensed professional. Ohioans believe these individuals are trained and that the training includes health and safety. If the bill becomes law that will no longer be the case.


Mr. Penzone’s bill— pushed by Tiberi— negatively impacts 130,000 Ohioans. It limits the ability of any individual citizen in Ohio from becoming successful by protecting franchise owners investments.


Charles Penzone and other wealthy investors want quick, cheap labor. And it appears they will get it.