Newsom signs Wilk’s salon bill

Politics and government

By Signal Staff 

Gov. Gavin Newson has signed a bill by state Sen. Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, that clears a legal hurdle to allow beauty salons to serve their patrons complimentary beer or wine. 

Wilk has said he authored the legislation, Senate Bill 247, in response to constituent requests. He said he lovingly referred to it as Vanessa’s Law, in his wife’s honor, and the bill is intended to “clean up legislation from a previous bill, which clarifies that beauty salons are eligible to serve a free 12-ounce beer or 5-ounce glass of wine to patrons.” 

Newsom signed SB 247 on Sept. 22 after it unanimously cleared both houses of the state Legislature. 

Local attorney Carl Kanowsky said one of his clients was one of the constituents who had requested the cleanup legislation. Kanowsky said in a news release that he was retained by the owners of a manicure salon who discovered that taking advantage of Wilk’s original legislation on the issue wasn’t as simple as originally intended. 

In 2016, Wilk — then serving in the Assembly — had authored a bill to amend the state Business and Professions Code, allowing barber shops and beauty salons to offer a complimentary bottle of beer or glass of wine to the shops’ patrons without the shop having to get a license from the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control. 

“Unfortunately, the phrase ‘beauty salon’ is not defined anywhere in any state law or statute,” Kanowsky’s release said. “Consequently, any business subject to regulation by the State Board of Barbering and Cosmetology (except barber shops, because they are defined) would have to apply for an alcohol license to be able to serve their customers.” 

Thus, barber shops were able to serve customers a glass of beer or wine under the 2016 bill, but “beauty salons” could not do so without a liquor license. 

Businesses such as cosmetologists, estheticians, manicurists and others would have to pursue both an alcohol license from the ABC as well as a permit from the city where their shop was located, resulting in tens of thousands of dollars in expenses before they could give their customers a glass of wine, Kanowsky’s release said. 

Kanowsky said he reached out to Wilk, seeking an amendment to the original bill to enable salons to avoid the hassle and expense of obtaining a liquor license. Wilk introduced SB 247 in January to amend the original legislation to make it clear that this privilege applied to any business operating under the State Board of Barbering and Cosmetology.   

Kanowsky applauded Wilk’s efforts, saying, “Sen. Wilk acted quickly to overturn an unexpected lack of consistency in how businesses catering to mainly men were treated differently than businesses that catered mostly to women.”   

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