2014 Republican gubernatorial primary debate (IPTV photo)

Two contractors hired to style hair and apply makeup at political debates through the last few years may have practiced their craft illegally.

In at least 10 instances since 2012, records show licensed cosmetologists hired by Idaho Public Television performed off-site event hair and makeup for pay, likely a breach of the state code.

Other documents released show no record of either cosmetology company securing a license to perform an off-site service away from their state-licensed salons.

Between May 2012 and September 2014, Idaho Public Television hired Rhonda Cafarelli of Boise to apply makeup and handle hair care at eight separate events, including four political debates. In 2016, IPTV hired Blush N’ Beauty, also based in Boise, to perform beauty services at two political debates, one in May and another in September.

In Idaho, a person must have a cosmetology license to legally accept pay for doing hair and makeup. With license in hand, a cosmetologist who wants to practice her trade off-site, say at a church wedding, must first obtain a special permit from the Idaho Board of Cosmetology, which regulates the industry and punishes violators.

Even then, state law doesn’t allow cosmetologists to charge for mobile hair and makeup services. State code only allows cosmetologists to perform educational demonstrations away from their brick-and-mortar business location, and prohibits payment for any and all services.

Dawn Hall, Administrative Support Manager at the Bureau of Occupational Licenses, told the Idaho Freedom Foundation her agency has issued 1,093 event permits since October 2009 and none were issued to Cafarelli or Blush N’ Beauty, which is owned and operated by Lisa Schultz of Eagle.

But, Hall suggested the two contractors still could have secured the special permits.

“[M]ost permits are issued to one licensed individual on behalf of several others or to a specific event on behalf of several individuals,” Hall wrote in an email. “Our system tracks the permits by that one individual or event, not by each person listed as participating, so I am unsure if those mentioned participated in an event.”

Calls to Cafarelli and Schultz were not returned.

IPTV General Manager Ron Pisaneschi told the Idaho Freedom Foundation his agency didn’t check permits for its contracted cosmetologists.

“No, we follow general State Purchasing [sic] guidelines and certainly check that any vendor is eligible to do business in the U.S. … but we didn’t check to see if they had obtained the proper cosmetology permits,” Pisaneschi confirmed.

A piece of legislation currently working its way through the Capitol would help put unlicensed make-up artists and hairstylists at ease. The bill would exempt from state licensure requirements those who only seek to apply makeup and do hair styling on location at various events — including debates, weddings and dances, among myriad other places.

If enacted, HB 139, sponsored by Rep. Lance Clow, R-Twin Falls, Rep. Melissa Wintrow, D-Boise and Sen. Lori Den Hartog, R-Meridian, would also allow makeup artists to forgo cosmetology school and practice their craft without a license.

During a lengthy debate last month in the House Business Committee, a number of licensed cosmetologists took exception to the exemption and told legislators that excusing some from licensure would disrespect the profession.

Others supported the exemption, and said it would allow them to practice their craft without spending thousands of dollars to attend beauty school and learn skills not needed for makeup application and simple hair styling.

Without a cosmetology license it is illegal for a person to demonstrate curling irons and hair straighteners in retail facilities. HB 139 would end that prohibition and allow non-licensed individuals to conduct such demonstrations.

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About The Author

Dustin Hurst serves as the Communication Director for the Idaho Freedom Foundation. He graduated from Boise State in 2009. His work has been featured by Fox News, Townhall, Public Sector Inc., the Daily Caller, Reason, Human Events, the Spokesman Review and more. He and his wonderful wife Julia have two cute kids. The family resides in Middleton.