Texas Legislature

CROWN Act Heard by Texas House Committee

The same legislation was filed last session, but supporters have hope it goes through this year

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It was a marathon day in the Texas House Affairs Committee Thursday with a hearing for House Bill 567 and a group of witnesses testifying for it.

“The CROWN act stands for creating a respectful and open world for our natural hair, and it is a national movement with passage already in 20 states,” said State Rep. Rhetta Andrews Bowers, D-Garland, who authored the bill.

The bill protects men and women from hair discrimination based on hair texture and a protected hairstyle commonly associated with race. Protected hairstyles in the bill include braids, locks and twists.

“I am often reminded of a time in 2008 where I was actually forced to cut out my braids in school because of the school dress code policy. That stated that braids and extensions were distracting and extreme hairstyles,” said witness Angel Carroll, director of advocacy for MEASURE, an Austin-based research nonprofit.

“Kids who face hair discrimination are subject to removal from an educational setting such as suspensions, or they are denied opportunities to participate in extra-curricular or ceremonial activities, like graduation,” said Sharon Watkins Jones, chief equity officer of Children at Risk.

No witnesses spoke out against the bill. During the last session, the bill passed the committee unanimously but did not make it to the full House floor before time ran out. Rep. Bowers remains hopeful it will be different this time around.

Online: Read HB 567 here.

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