First, let me just say how very pleased and excited I am to serve our Chapter as the Government Relations Committee Chairperson. Coming in on the heels of Scott and Kerry, I know that I have the support and history to help me succeed in this position. And big shoes to fill!
Second, I’ll bring you up to speed quickly on what has been happening since I assumed the role.
In the late winter, I was invited to attend a meeting with Becca and Scott at the Connecticut state offices. We were there to help the Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Council understand how human trafficking and illicit massage practices are affecting our profession and what LMTs are required to do at the state level. I appreciated the chance to meet others who are working to coordinate efforts to keep human trafficking out of our state and to advocate for the victims.
Based on that meeting, I was introduced to Beau Thurnauer, a detective from East Hartford who has been leading the effort to get illicit businesses shut down. As Beau said, this is a bit of a ‘whack-a-mole’ game in that shutting down in one location often means the business simply moves to a different town and reopens. He and his team are looking at other avenues for investigating and prosecuting human trafficking.
We had an excellent meeting with brainstorming and much information sharing, and I was able to stress that, as a profession, LMTs are happy to support laws that are supportive of our legitimate massage businesses. We are not in support of those that use massage as a cover to go after illicit businesses, thereby ‘punishing’ a legitimate and legal massage therapist for attempting to open and maintain a business.
The lines of communication are open and Beau asked if we, the AMTA, are willing to work with his team to possibly strengthen existing legislation, or write new proposals, that would assist them in shutting down and prosecuting illicit massage practices. I let him know that we would be very happy to continue that conversation on AMTA’s behalf.
HB5758, An Act Excluding Certain Activities from the Definition of Massage Therapy, has not had any further movement at the state level. This was a bill that was introduced that does not seem to have the well-being of the public, nor the best interests of LMTs, at heart, and I am happy to see that this has not progressed.
In Monroe, where town leadership has been working on new massage therapy legislation, there has not been any further progress on the proposed Massage Ordinance that many LMTs living and working there have spoken out against. We will continue to monitor relevant activity in Monroe and make you aware if there is another opportunity to write letters or call representatives.
If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I am very excited to serve our Chapter in this capacity!
Government Relations Chair