KS Sen. Oletha Faust Goudeau (D-Wichita) has pre-filed a bill in the Kansas Senate will make it illegal to target people at work, school or in public spaces based on their hair texture, hair type and protective hair styles – like braids, locks and twists. The bill is just one of several law falling under the spectrum of “Create a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural Hair Act,” also known as the Crown Act,
California was the first state to sign a Crown Act into law, on July 3, and New York followed shortly after. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed a similar bill into law just before the Christmas holidays.
Several cities, including New York City and Cincinnati, passed laws outlawing hair-based discrimination, and Michigan, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Maryland, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, Virginia and Kentucky are all considering similar legislation, according to the Crown Coalition.
New Jersey’s bill was signed into law one year after Andrew Johnson, a New Jersey High School wrestler, when a referee told him he faced forfeiture at a match in southern New Jersey if he did not immediately cut his locks. A video capturing Mr. Johnson’s hurried, last-minute haircut drew widespread attention and prompted a civil rights investigation by the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights, a part of the state’s Office of the Attorney General.
“No one should be made to feel uncomfortable or be discriminated against because of their natural hair,” Gov. Phil Murphy said.
We’ll have a complete report from Sen. Faust-Goudeau, Sen. David Haley, Rep. Gail Finney and several other African-American Kansas legislators in the Jan. 9 issue of The Community Voice.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.