There should be nothing controversial about proposed legislation that would make it illegal to discriminate against Minnesotans based on how they style their hair.

This measure requires no money or heavy lifts — just the simple clarification in our state law that hair texture and styles such as braids, locks and twists are traits associated with race — and therefore should never be the basis of unfair treatment.

The legislation passed the House easily with bipartisan support last week, thanks to the leadership of bill author Rep. Esther Agbaje, DFL-Minneapolis. But Republican lawmakers such as Rep. Lisa Demuth of Cold Spring, the daughter of a Black dad and a white mom, also lent their voice in support of the bill.

"Hair should not be the thing to hold us back or to promote us forward," Demuth said before casting her yes vote.

Hair, hair. This all makes sense, right?

But it's unclear whether this effort will go anywhere. At the time of writing this column, the companion bill in the Republican-controlled Senate hasn't gotten a hearing, suggesting it might not be gaining the kind of traction needed to become law.

On social media and in the now-disabled comments section that ran with the latest Star Tribune story about the so-called CROWN act, a lot of skeptics questioned if this law is even needed. Hair discrimination? Is this even a thing? Show us the proof!

Well, it's not hard to find stories of Minnesotans of color who've found themselves on the receiving end of offensive comments in the workplace, or even who believe they were denied opportunities, because of their hair. And if there were a law protecting them from discrimination, maybe you would see more Black professionals — from accountants to TV anchors — choosing to embrace their natural texture.

Consider Lenora Warfield of Fridley. When she showed up to work one day with some of her hair pouffed out in a natural Afro, one of the colleagues she was assisting remarked to another co-worker about Warfield: It looks like I have a poodle here that is willing to do anything I say.

"She basically referred to me as a dog doing her errands," Warfield recalled, adding that her colleague was in a position senior to hers. "I am Black, I was her assistant. I was intimidated and in fear of saying anything at the time. I knew if I said anything, it would cause friction or I could be reprimanded."

I also spoke to Vachel Hudson, president of Urban League Twin Cities Young Professionals. When he was just out of college in Kentucky, one of his first jobs was selling life insurance. Hudson was told by the married couple who ran the agency that he would look "cleaner" and probably close even more deals with clients if he were to cut the dreadlocks he had worn since high school.

He decided to get rid of them, believing that success required erasing part of his identity. And he was celebrated for it. When Hudson returned to work with a fade, his supervisors and colleagues told him, "You look so much better, so much nicer and fresher," he recalled.

Here's one more: Photographer Trae Compton said when he was 17, he applied twice for the same entry-level retail job at a west-metro department store about a month apart. The first time he interviewed, he wore cornrows; the second time his head was nearly shaven. The same manager, a white woman, interviewed him in both instances.

"I did the same interview and had the same exact information and ended up getting the job," he said. "The only difference, as far as I could see, was my hair."

If you're looking for something more concrete, remember that in 2013, the state Department of Human Rights filed a discrimination complaint after former workers of the Salvation Army's adult addiction recovery program reported they were fired for wearing dreadlocks, cornrows, Afros and other Black hairstyles. The department eventually reached a settlement with the employer that required it to essentially rehire the fired workers.

Across the country, we've heard recent stories about students who were ordered to cut their dreadlocks, beads or braids to play in a volleyball game or graduate from high school.

Sen. Bobby Joe Champion, DFL-Minneapolis, told me last week that he's been meeting with legislators in key leadership positions across the aisle about the Senate bill and has yet to receive firm commitments for a hearing.

It's possible that the couple dozen Minnesota legislators who voted against the House version figured the measure was unnecessary, given that the law already prohibits racial discrimination. Agbaje said it's important to provide more clarity so judges know natural hair is protected by the state's human rights act.

"You can get into these semantics if you don't lay it out specifically, and that's the purpose of the CROWN act and the whole national movement," she said, adding that 14 states have enacted legislation barring hair-based discrimination.

But there's also a virulent strain of public backlash against the bill that has nothing to do with language. After my colleague Emma Nelson reported on last week's 104-25 vote, she received the most racist voice mail messages she's ever received in response to any story in her career. She read them verbatim to me, and they are too hateful to print.

Before Twin Cities folks chalk this up to rural bigotry, just know that the worst phone calls came from 612 numbers.

All this vitriol for a bill on hair.

That didn't surprise Warfield, the Fridley woman whose former colleague once compared her to a dog. Warfield started wearing locks a year ago after straightening and chemically treating her hair for most of her life. She now owns a hair salon where she sees up close how a lifetime of treatments can inflict damage on Black hair.

Part of her decision to embrace her own natural texture was to show her three children that they can be unapologetically Black — and authentically beautiful. She remembered all the times as a child she was taught to flat-iron her hair.

"I was like, 'No, we don't have to do this,'" she said. "You can be your natural self. You can be your own beauty. I want them to embrace themselves."