By Audra Streetman

DENVER (CBS4) – A Colorado bill aimed at prohibiting hairstyle discrimination is one step away from becoming law. The CROWN Act, or HB 20-1048, passed the Colorado Senate Friday with bipartisan support.

Rep. Leslie Herod (D-Denver) speaks from the House Floor (credit: Rep. Leslie Herod)

The bill would ban discrimination on the basis of hair texture, hair type, and protective hairstyles like dreadlocs, twists, tight coils or curls, cornrows, bantu knots, afros and headwraps. The bill is sponsored by Rep.  Leslie Herod (D-Denver), Rep. Janet Buckner (D-Aurora) and Sen. Rhonda Fields (D-Aurora).

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“Colorado is just one signature away from passing the CROWN Act, which would ban the racist practice of hair-based discrimination in education, employment and housing,” said Rep. Herod. “The signing of this bill will have a real impact on the lives of not only African-American people, but all people who have been told to change their natural hair to fit someone else’s standards of acceptability.”

Earlier this month, dozens of men and women of color shared their stories of discrimination before state lawmakers. Hashim Coates described how his manager passed him over for a promotion because of his hairstyle.

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“Without cutting my hair it was going to stop my upward mobility,” Coates said.

Hashim Coates testifies with Senator Rhonda Fields (D-Aurora) and Erica Cobb from Daily Blast Live (credit: Rep. Leslie Herod)

The bill comes on the heels of nationally publicized incidents of hair discrimination including New Jersey student-wrestler Andrew Johnson, who was forced to cut off his dreadlocks to compete.

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Colorado would be the fourth state to pass the CROWN Act, following California, New York and New Jersey. The bill passed 42-21 in the House and 23-11 in the Senate. It now heads to Governor Jared Polis to be signed into law.

Audra Streetman