BOSTON (WWLP) – On Thursday, state senators passed a bill that would prohibit discrimination of any kind against natural hairstyles.

22News spoke to lawmakers after the vote, who said this change is long overdue. March is women’s history month and the legislature is using the opportunity to pass a bill that would prohibit discrimination against natural and protective hairstyles.

For months now, people of color from across the Commonwealth have been meeting with lawmakers to advocate for this important change. House Chairman of the Joint Committee on the Judiciary, Rep. Michael Day, released a statement about the testimony he heard, writing “People of color across the Commonwealth, particularly Black women, continue to face discrimination in school, in the workplace and in public spaces based on the texture and style of their hair.” And on Thursday the Senate did the same.

“If we are meaningfully going to combat systemic racism we needed to pass this bill today,” said Senator Becca Rausch of Norfolk.

The bill is now headed to a conference committee where the House and Senate versions will be combined. Once both branches agree to the bill’s final language, it will be sent to the Governor’s desk to be signed into law.

Lawmakers believe this is a common-sense change to the state’s hate crime laws. And they say this move alone will make the Commonwealth a better place for everyone.