Lawsuit: Mississippi puts burdens on eyebrow threading

A group that advocates limited government is suing Mississippi over the state's licensing requirement for people who earn money by plucking eyebrows with thread.

Posted: Aug 17, 2019 10:48 PM

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A group that advocates limited government is suing Mississippi over the state's licensing requirement for people who earn money by plucking eyebrows with thread.

Mississippi Justice Institute filed the lawsuit Monday on behalf of Dipa Bhattarai, a University of Mississippi graduate student. She grew up in Nepal, where she learned the technique of using a single strand of cotton thread to remove hair.

Mississippi requires people who receive money for eyebrow threading to earn an esthetician's license. The license requires training and exams, but none of the training deals with eyebrow threading.

The Mississippi Board of Cosmetology shut down Bhattarai's eyebrow threading business, and she wants to reopen it.

Bhattarai told the Clarion Ledger that she started earning money by threading eyebrows while she was a student at Mississippi University for Women in Columbus.

"It's going to sound cliche, but I just started my business with $240," Bhattarai said.

She had a chair, some thread and not much else. Bhattarai said the owner of a shopping mall in Columbus let her set up a kiosk for free and later gave her a discounted price when she moved into a storefront.

"They didn't believe I was going to make any money," she said.

Bhattarai said she worked up to 20 hours a week at the eyebrow threading kiosk. In less than two years, the kiosk grew to a store in Columbus and a store in Starkville. Families, sororities and members of the Mississippi State University football team came to her business to get their eyebrows threaded, she said.

In December 2017, Bhattarai said she was threading eyebrows at her business in Columbus when a state Board of Cosmetology inspector handed her a citation.

"The lady walked in and said I couldn't do it. ... I was really surprised," Bhattarai said.

Her Starkville business was soon shut down, Bhattarai said, leaving two full-time employees and one part-time employee without jobs and her on the hook for rent.

Mississippi Justice Institute director Aaron Rice said in a news release that Bhattarai wants to "pursue the American Dream, by putting her own skills and work ethic to use in a safe and worthwhile trade."

"Unnecessary laws and regulations are preventing her from doing that," Rice said in a news release. "We want to help people like her fight back against this kind of job-killing red tape."

Mississippi Justice Institute is the legal arm of Mississippi Center for Public Policy, which advocates free markets and limited regulation. The lawsuit names the Mississippi Board of Cosmetology and Attorney General Jim Hood as defendants. The attorney general's office represents state agencies.

The institute's news release said eyebrow threading does not involve skin-to-skin contact between the customer and the person plucking the eyebrows, does not use the same tools on different customers and does not involve sharp instruments, harsh chemicals or heat.

The institute said the Texas Supreme Court struck down a similar law in 2015. It also says Louisiana, Tennessee, and Arizona repealed licensing requirements for eyebrow threading after lawsuits were filed.

A similar lawsuit filed in June challenges Louisiana's cosmetology training requirement for people who earn money with natural hair braiding techniques that are widely practiced in African American communities. That lawsuit was brought by the Virginia-based Institute for Justice, which once challenged Louisiana licensing and permitting requirements for commercial flower arranging and cosmetic eyebrow threading.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 512632

Reported Deaths: 10262
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34853555
DeSoto33162432
Hinds32556641
Jackson24830389
Rankin22442402
Lee16238242
Madison14874283
Jones14086247
Forrest13741259
Lauderdale12249324
Lowndes11286193
Lamar10644140
Pearl River9707244
Lafayette8827143
Hancock7835132
Washington7550169
Oktibbeha7204138
Monroe6989179
Pontotoc6970109
Warren6849178
Panola6746134
Neshoba6726210
Marshall6653141
Bolivar6440151
Union633897
Pike5924156
Alcorn5862107
Lincoln5525136
George510180
Prentiss500884
Tippah490282
Itawamba4829107
Scott477499
Adams4766125
Tate4748116
Leflore4723144
Copiah455895
Yazoo455591
Simpson4543117
Wayne442772
Covington432895
Sunflower4299106
Marion4265112
Coahoma4227109
Leake413790
Newton395581
Tishomingo381793
Grenada3775109
Stone365666
Jasper340166
Attala337790
Winston317792
Chickasaw313367
Clay311878
Clarke301195
Calhoun284449
Holmes271289
Smith268952
Yalobusha243747
Tallahatchie231453
Greene224749
Walthall221366
Lawrence217840
Perry213356
Amite209557
Webster205148
Noxubee188642
Montgomery181557
Carroll174441
Jefferson Davis173643
Tunica163239
Benton152639
Kemper144941
Choctaw136527
Claiborne134238
Humphreys131139
Franklin124929
Quitman107528
Wilkinson105939
Jefferson96834
Sharkey65121
Issaquena1957
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 844594

Reported Deaths: 16115
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1160612006
Mobile741651379
Madison53255732
Shelby38313368
Baldwin38061589
Tuscaloosa35996641
Montgomery34473781
Lee25541263
Calhoun22582518
Morgan22441406
Etowah20009517
Marshall18771316
Houston17723425
St. Clair16863358
Limestone16123218
Cullman16032303
Elmore15902294
Lauderdale14945306
Talladega14186299
DeKalb12957269
Walker12011380
Blount10700192
Autauga10512157
Jackson10151194
Coffee9412192
Colbert9325208
Dale9013191
Tallapoosa7248201
Russell707465
Chilton7015170
Escambia6951143
Covington6926195
Franklin6337108
Chambers5778142
Marion5400130
Dallas5283209
Pike5114109
Clarke484986
Lawrence4826129
Winston4777110
Geneva4640136
Bibb434094
Barbour369180
Butler3433100
Marengo342393
Monroe336666
Randolph334067
Pickens333188
Fayette329885
Henry320566
Hale317989
Cherokee316963
Crenshaw260477
Washington256952
Cleburne254360
Lamar251253
Clay250869
Macon244764
Conecuh192762
Coosa184647
Lowndes178168
Wilcox177438
Bullock152545
Perry141840
Sumter139041
Greene130245
Choctaw93228
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