August 1, 2001
By: John Kasprak, Senior Attorney
You asked for a history of the nail technician licensure program.
Connecticut required the licensure of manicurists until 1980. Subsequently, legislative proposals were introduced to again require licensure of manicurists, and later nail and skin care workers. In 1999, the legislature passed a law requiring the Department of Public Health (DPH) to license nail technicians. This requirement was never implemented and was eventually repealed in the 2001 June Special Session.
LICENSURE OF MANICURISTS
Connecticut required the licensure of manicurists until a 1980 public act (PA 80-484) repealed the program. Generally, that act incorporated recommendations of the Legislative Program Review and Investigations Committee concerning health-related licensure programs that were scheduled to “sunset” on July 1, l980 unless reauthorized by the legislature. The committee had recommended termination of the manicurist license in its 1980 sunset review report on hairdresser and cosmetician regulation.
Before repeal, in order to obtain a Connecticut manicurist license, the applicant had to: (1) be at least 17 years old; (2) complete at least 500 hours of study and training during a minimum three month period in a licensed school; and (3) pass a written, oral, and practical examination (formerly CGS § 20-261, 1979 Revision). DPH was responsible for licensure.
The 1995 legislature considered a bill to license manicurists, introduced by Senator Daily. The Public Health Committee held a public hearing on the bill but took no further action. That committee in l996 raised similar legislation, held a public hearing, and reported a bill (HB 5796). It later died in the Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee.
1998 STUDY OF NAIL, FACE AND SKIN CARE
Public Act 98-166 required DPH to study the public health effect of allowing unlicensed people to perform nail and face and skin care. The study could include a survey of local health authorities on the number and nature of complaints of adverse health effects from unlicensed care. DPH had to report its findings and recommendations to the Public Health Committee by January 1, l999. Under this act, “nail care” included (1) silk wraps, (2) acrylics, (3) gel nails, (4) stenciling, 5) French manicures, and 6) similar practices for esthetic reasons. “Face and skin care” included (1) application of cosmetic samples in retail stores, (2) facial massages, (3) application of depilatories, (4) waxing, (5) sanding, (6) tweezing, and (7) similar practices for esthetic reasons.
DPH convened a task force to study the necessity of licensing nail care technicians and estheticians. It concluded that the tasks and procedures performed by nail care technicians and estheticians place the public at risk for certain health-related complications. The department believed that a licensure program would ensure that individuals performing these functions were qualified and would allow DPH to have oversight of them.
1999 LICENSURE OF NAIL TECHNICIANS
In response to DPH's task force report, the Public Health Committee drafted and considered “An Act Concerning Licensure of Barber-Hairdressers, Estheticians, and Nail Technicians.” The bill (SB 404) established licensure requirements for nail technicians and estheticians, with licensure administered by DPH. At a March 9, 1999, hearing, DPH testified against the bill, arguing that the bill as drafted did not adequately address the concerns leading to the task force recommendations. A few of the concerns the department cited were:
1. the lack of required training for estheticians to perform their duties;
2. the use of the barber statutes as the basis for licensure for all hairdressers and barbers;
3. that certain activities, which previously required licensure (dressing, arranging, curling, waving and weaving hair) would now be allowed by unlicensed individuals; and
4. inconsistencies concerning which professions would be under the jurisdiction of the Connecticut Board of Examiners of Barbers, Hairdressers, and Cosmeticians. (Testimony of Warren Wollschlager, Chief of DPH's Bureau of Regulatory Services).
Ultimately, the committee favorably reported out a version of the bill that established separate licensure requirements for nail technicians and estheticians, both administered by DPH. It also combined two existing separate license categories of barber (one license category) and hairdresser and cosmetician (the other license category) into one barber-hairdresser license and changed some of the requirements for licensure. (An OLR Report (99-R-0558) analyzing this bill is attached.)
The bill (File 693) was passed by the Senate with two amendments, but died on the House calendar.
The legislature established a licensure program for nail technicians administered by DPH during the June 1999 Special Session as part of the “Public Health Implementer” bill (PA 99-2, JSS). The act defined the profession, established the licensure requirements, and specified conditions under which a license was not required. It also allowed DPH to take disciplinary action against nail technicians engaged in certain conduct. The act required nail technicians to be licensed beginning October 1, 2000, in order to practice in Connecticut. A license applicant had to apply to DPH, pay a $50 fee, and provide satisfactory evidence of successfully completing (1) a minimum 150 hour course of study in theoretical and practical nail care, acceptable to DPH, that included coursework in antifungal technique, blood-borne diseases, and clean air requirements and (2) a DPH-prescribed examination.
Under the act, a nail technician license was not required of (1) a licensed barber or a licensed hairdresser and cosmetician; (2) a person licensed or certified in the state and performing services within his scope of practice; or (3) a student, intern, or trainee in a course of study as a nail technician, barber, or hairdresser and cosmetician in an accredited institution of the activities that would otherwise require a nail technician' license were part of the course and done under supervision.
(A more detailed analysis of the nail technician licensure provisions of PA 99-2 (JSS) is attached.
2000 REPEAL PROPOSAL
The governor proposed repeal of the nail technician licensure program in the 2000 session. HB 5266, which included the repeal, was referred to the Public Health Committee, but did not receive a hearing.
2001 REPEAL OF NAIL TECHNICIAN LICENSURE
As of January 2001, DPH had not implemented the nail technician licensure program.
The governor, as part of his budget proposal, sought to repeal it. Bill 6724 (An Act Concerning Various Health Initiatives), which implemented the governor's budget, included a repeal of the nail technician program. The bill was referred to the Public Health Committee and received a public hearing on March 27. In his testimony on the bill, OPM Secretary Marc Ryan stated, “I know that this issue has caused considerable debate in previous sessions. However, as you review the many cuts that have been recommended in this budget, reflect upon whether this is a critical state function and whether we have evidence of a severe threat to public health and safety without such a program. This will result in a savings of $171,000 next year in the Department of Public Health, increasing to $185,600 in the second year of the biennium.”
The Public Health Committee favorably reported a version of HB 6724 to the Appropriations Committee on April 3, which did not include nail technician licensure repeal.
June Special Session
The 2001 session “Public Health Implementer” (PA 01-4, JSS) eliminated DPH's nail technician licensure program, effective July 1, 2001.
Another provision of that act requires local directors of health to inspect all barber, hairdressing, and nail salons annually concerning their sanitary conditions. The local health director is authorized to collect a fee of up to $100 per salon for the cost of the inspection. This takes effect October 1, 2001.