Submitted by: Jim Noriega, USTA Law and Legislation Committee Chair
JGRC and Legislative update
JGRC refers to the Joint Government Relations Committee of the Federation of Therapeutic Massage, Bodywork and Somatic Practice Organizations
Massachusetts - The “bodyworks” licensing bill has been renumbered as S168 and referred to the Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure. Now that it has been assigned to a committee, we can target those members with our letters and calls. I have sent a letter to the Committee members (addendum 1) and some of our local Practitioners have as well. There are no hearings scheduled for this bill yet. In previous years, competing bills for “bodyworks” licensing were proposed by the Attorney General and Senator Montigny. This time they have come together for this one bill, so the pressure to pass it will be strong. However, the opposition is more experienced after last year and growing.
Ohio - As noted in the last L&L report, the national AMTA and its Ohio chapter would like to update the massage therapy law to do away with the two tiers of massage – licensed therapeutic massage and “relaxation” (non-therapeutic) massage. We hoped that opening the law to amendments would allow us to add an appropriate exemption for our Practitioners. So far there is no bill in the docket to do this, and even if there were, it is not clear how an exemption would affect our Practitioners.
In Ohio, massage therapy is considered a branch of medicine and licensed by the medical board. If Trager Practitioners were exempted from mandatory massage therapy licensing, the medical board may still feel that we are practicing medicine (even if not massage) and need at least some other licensed recognized by them. A Health Freedom or Safe Harbor law would do more to codify our right to practice without licensing but at this time there is no action like that in the legislature.
Minnesota - The Minnesota Massage Therapy licensing bill draft should be going to the legislative bill writers this week. The exemption language has been simplified but still looks good for our Practitioners and Trager will be named as exempt in the law if the exemption language remains intact.