CHICAGO (AP) -- Illinois hair braiders will soon be able to practice their craft without fear of being shut down by state regulators.
Gov. Pat Quinn has signed a law that will allow braiders to operate without a cosmetology degree and license.
Braiders who can prove that they've practiced for at least two years can automatically get a hair-braiding license after paying a fee.
New braiders can get a license after undergoing 300 hours of training in braiding methods and sanitation.
Proponents of the law say it's needed to protect small business owners, many of them African and African American women, who were being raided by the state's professional regulation department for not being licensed.
The law takes effect Jan. 1.
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