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Hair Salons Sue Newsom, AG Becerra Over 'Unilateral Reordering' Of California Economy

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) - Barbers, beauticians and hair salon professionals are suing Gov. Gavin Newsom and state Attorney General Xaiver Becerra for "criminalizing" their line of work due to the COVID-19 shutdown.

The lawsuit filed in Los Angeles federal court by the Professional Beauty Federation of California alleges lawmakers violated their members' constitutional rights when they "vaguely and arbitrarily classified licensed barbering and cosmetology professionals as `non-essential,' criminalizing the jobs these 500,000 plus state-licensed professionals perform.''

A Sherman Oaks beauty school and hairstylists from Los Angeles and San Diego are among the plaintiffs to the suit, which alleges a "unilateral reordering of the economy is occurring without any legislative or electoral oversight" and seeks a court order forcing officials to allow personal grooming shops to reopen as quickly as possible.

According to the Paul Mitchell Beauty School, employees have been furloughed and use of the school's leased space at the Galleria in Sherman Oaks denied because of actions undertaken by Newsom and Becerra.

Plaintiffs say prior to the shutdown orders Paul Mitchell had 230 students enrolled and working toward becoming licensed cosmetologists.

"Paul Mitchell nevertheless remains liable for leased real property, licensing fees, and other fixed operating costs of more than $60,000 per month," according to the lawsuit.

L.A. hairstylist Rose Ibarra says despite going without income since the order was issued two months ago, she's still on the hook for annual licensing fees and other costs to sustain her livelihood, the suit states.

Messages seeking comment from representatives of Newsom and Becerra were not immediately answered.

Last week, Newsom unveiled a four-phase reopening plan for businesses, but salons and barber shops have not yet been included in the loosening of restrictions. He also said California faces a $54 billion budget shortfall and and 18% jobless rate.

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