Bloomberg Law
Jan. 26, 2023, 6:28 PM

Black Hair Discrimination Ban Sent to Minnesota Governor’s Desk

Chris Marr
Chris Marr
Staff Correspondent

Minnesota would become the 20th state to ban racial discrimination against traditionally Black hairstyles or textures such as locs and twists, under legislation heading to Gov. Tim Walz’s (DFL) desk.

The measure (HF 37) would expand the definition of race under Minnesota’s Human Rights Act to cover race-related characteristics such as hair. The state’s existing anti-discrimination law bans bias in the workplace, housing, public accommodations, and other settings against a list of protected classes including race, religion, and sex.

The bill goes to Walz after winning final passage Thursday in the Senate by a 45-19 vote. The state House passed it Jan. 11 on a vote of 111-19. Walz plans to sign the bill, his spokeswoman Claire Lancaster said.

Minnesota lawmakers’ passage of the bill follows the fast expansion of race-related hair bias laws, based on a model that advocates call the CROWN Act. Similar laws are now on the books in 19 states and a number of cities and counties just over three years after California and New York first enacted legislation.

Many but not all of those 19 states included workplace bias protections in their laws. As one of the exceptions, the law Alaska enacted last year banned hair-related discrimination only against public school students.

The laws have advanced primarily in Democratic-majority legislatures but also have won support among a handful of Republican-led statehouses, including Louisiana and Tennessee.

A federal version of the CROWN Act passed the US House in March 2022 but didn’t get a vote in the Senate last session.

The hair bias legislation is among the first bills of 2023 to pass the Minnesota legislature, where Democrats’ new majority-hold on both chambers is expected to yield a long list of progressive policy measures. Among them, Walz and legislative leaders have said enacting a paid family and medical leave program is a high priority.

To contact the reporter on this story: Chris Marr in Atlanta at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Rebekah Mintzer at