Bill would ban hairstyle discrimination.

DENVER, CO — Rep. Leslie Herod and Janet Buckner’s bill, HB20-1048, known as the CROWN Act, today was approved by the House on third reading. The bill would explicitly prohibit discrimination on the basis of hair texture, hair type, and protect hairstyles like dreadlocs, twists, tight coils or curls, cornrows, bantu knots, afros and headwraps. The bill was approved by the House by a vote of 42-21 and now moves onto the Senate for consideration.

“Expressing your identity and culture through hairstyle is empowering, and Coloradans should never have to fear reprisal in the workplace for doing so,” said Rep. Herod (D-Denver). “Watching the powerful testimony of over one hundred community members last week confirmed what we already knew: hairstyle discrimination is far too common for black people and many other groups in Colorado. Today the House took a crucial step towards banning this racist practice once and for all.”

“I’m proud that the House stood up against discrimination by supporting the CROWN Act today,” said Rep. Buckner (D-Denver). ““It’s 2020 — we should leave absolutely no room for hairstyle discrimination in the workplace. I look forward to seeing the CROWN Act become law.” 

The C.R.O.W.N. Act stands for “Create a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair.” According to research from the Crown Coalition, a Black woman is 80% more likely to change her natural hair to meet social norms or expectations at work, and 50% more likely to be sent home or know of a black woman sent home from the workplace because of her hair. 

Last week, the CROWN Act was approved by the House Business Affairs & Labor Committee. Prior to that committee meeting, the Black Democratic Legislative Caucus of Colorado held a community hearing to hear from supporters of the bill regarding their experiences with hairstyle discrimination. Over 100 supporters attended the hearing. 

If the bill is enacted, Colorado would be the fourth state to pass the CROWN Act, following California, New York and New Jersey. 

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