Unlicensed Halloween costumes! Barber school monopolies! And fines for farm fixers! Read on for tales of excessive regulation.
Officials with the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation announced this week the seizure of $1,600 worth of colored contact lenses from a convenience store. Selling the Halloween-inspired contact lenses, even though they are just for aesthetic purposes, is regarded as the unlicensed practice of optometry and subject to a $10,000 fine. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considers cosmetic contact lenses to be medical devices and requires manufacturers to submit the lenses for pre-market approval. In Illinois, they can only be legally obtained with a prescription from one of the state's nearly 2,000 optometrists.
From West Virginia:
State law requires barbers, cosmetologists, manicurists, and aestheticians to attend state-licensed trade schools before obtaining a license. According to the Charleston Daily Mail, only 314 of the 917 students registered at the schools received a license in 2010, just 34 percent.
The schools are expensive. Adam Higginbotham, the executive director of the Board of Barbers and Cosmetologists, estimates that the average cost of a cosmetology degree is $10,000—some schools charge more than $20,000. "You don't want to tell your students coming in the first day of school . . . 'Look at 10 of your other students. Six of you will fail and have thousands of dollars of debt and not have a career,' " Higginbotham said.
There are 14 beauty schools and only one barbering school in the state. In 2011, the board cited 38 people for holding themselves out to be a barber, cosmetologist, manicurist, or aesthetician without a license.
Governor Jerry Brown signed a law this week boosting penalties for unlicensed farm labor contractors, who recruit and transport farm workers. Contracting without a license is already illegal and punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. However, because filing criminal charges is costly to the state, few violators were being prosecuted. The new law allows the Labor Commissioner to levy civil fines directly—starting with a maximum of $10,000 for a first offense.
Licensees must pay a $500 fee and take eight hours of continuing education classes annually after passing a one-time four-hour examination and putting up a $25,000 to $75,000 surety bond (depending on payroll size).