CROWN Act filed in every ArkLaTex state

Texas State Capitol
Texas State Capitol(Gray)
Updated: Apr. 29, 2021 at 3:15 PM CDT
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TEXAS (KSLA) — Efforts to prevent discrimination based on hairstyle and texture are spreading across the nation and now has reached the ArkLaTex.

Texas state lawmakers are considering House Bill 392, also known as the CROWN Act. The Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair Act would ban educational, employment and housing discrimination on the basis of hair texture or hairstyle, including braids, locs and twists.

Advocates of the bill say Black men and women face discrimination, in some cases, because of natural and ethnic hairstyles.

Shontaria James, who owns Tia’s Braiding Culture in Marshall, Texas, believes the legislation is something that needs to be passed.

“I think, to be honest, I think it’s a racist thing. Like some people label dread heads as bad people,” James said. “I have heard that before. Some people think if you have braids you are not professional.

“It’s wrong to not hire someone just because they have dreads. Dreads are natural. You are growing them yourself. That is your real hair. That is discrimination. I think they should pass it to allow people to wear their dreads.”

On Tuesday, April 27, supporters of the bill gathered at the Texas State Capitol for Texas CROWN Act Day of Action. At the time, the bill was not scheduled for a hearing. But House Committee on State Affairs committee member State Rep. Chris Paddie, R- Marshall, announced it would be part of the hearing Thursday, April 29.

You can watch the first part of the hearing here.

The Texas House Committee on State Affairs left House Bill 392 “pending” at the end of the hearing.

The bill’s author, state Rep. Rhetta Bowers, has bipartisan support, four co-authors and nearly 60 sponsors on HB 392.

According to the Garland, Texas, Democrat’s chief of staff, leaving bills pending is a normal practice. This step lets the members reflect on the proposal and ask questions.

Bowers said she hopes to get it out of committee and to Calendars to be set for a vote. The 87th Texas Legislature will conclude May 31.

In Arkansas, House Bill 1871 was read in the House on April 5 and has been referred to the House Public Health, Welfare and Labor Committee. It has 14 Democratic co-sponsors.

In Louisiana, New Orleans passed the CROWN Act into law in 2020.

Now at the state Capitol, two bills are being discussed. Senate Bill 61 passed unanimously during a committee meeting last week. It will now go before the Senate. And House Bill 189 is pending in the House.

If any ArkLaTex state passes the CROWN Act, it would join 10 other states in banning hair-based discrimination.

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