Louisiana joined at least a dozen other states this week, when Gov. Edwards signed the Crown Act into law.
The bill, which was authored by state Rep. Candace Newell, D-New Orleans, forbids discrimination at school, work, housing or anywhere else based on the way a person's hair grows or is styled.
Louisiana's Crown Act is similar to those passed in at least a dozen states since 2019.
It specifically outlaws discrimination based on any "natural, protective, or cultural hairstyle," which is defined as including but not limited to "afros, dreadlocks, twists, locs, braids, cornrow braids, Bantu knots, curls, and hair styled to protect hair texture or for cultural significance."
Newell has said that "hair discrimination is rooted in the belief that straight hair is ultimately cleaner, neater or more professional, while it’s opposite for hair that is textured. In an area that I represent, I have several white gentlemen who have beautiful dreadlocks, and I believe that they should be protected just as an African American man or woman who has dreadlocks."
After the bill passed, she posted the following statement on her Facebook page:
"My bill, HB 1083, the CROWN Act, is headed to Governor John Bel Edwards’ desk! I want to thank all of my colleagues that supported the legislation, but more importantly, I want to thank all the advocates that called, emailed, and testified on behalf of the legislation. Thanks to you, we got this important bill DONE!" Newell wrote.
The governor tweeted about the bill after he signed it.
Hair discrimination is racial discrimination, and discrimination is not a Louisiana value. Rep. Newell's CROWN Act will protect Louisianans from discrimination based on a person's natural, protective, or cultural hairstyle. It is with great pride that I signed it into law. #lagov— John Bel Edwards (@LouisianaGov) June 21, 2022
Last year a similar bill failed, but this year's Crown Act had a relatively smooth trip through the legislature - after a similar bill was killed early on, and a tight squeeze through committee. The bill was approved by the House without debate. To read our story about the committee debate, click here.
To read the law for yourself, click here.