New Minnesota law prohibits discrimination based on natural hair texture and styles

A new law has been passed in Minnesota that will explicitly prohibit racial discrimination based on natural hair texture and hairstyles such as braids, locs and twists.

Gov. Tim Walz has signed the CROWN Act into law, with a ceremonial bill signing on Friday.

"Discrimination has no place in Minnesota," said Gov. Walz in a statement. "By signing the CROWN Act, we are sending a message that Black Minnesotans deserve to live and work free from discrimination. Today we are taking an important step in creating a more equitable Minnesota."

The new law adds language to the definition of race in the Minnesota Human Rights Act that includes natural hair textures and hairstyles, preventing discrimination on the basis of hair.  

"The CROWN Act will ensure today’s generation and future generations of Black Minnesotans don’t experience the discrimination that has existed for far too long in our state," said Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan. "Black people in Minnesota, and across the country, deserve to show up as their full, beautiful selves, without the fear of hair discrimination."

The Minnesota House passed a version of the bill in 2020, and again in 2021, but it failed to gain approval in the GOP-controlled Senate. Democrats now control both the House and Senate.