Government Relations’ ‘Info You Need!’

By Nikki Arel, GR for AMTA-CT Chapter

2019 looks to be, potentially be a very busy legislative session for our profession.  But first? Please MARK YOUR CALENDARS for 8 MAY 2019, a Wednesday, for Legislative Awareness Day (LAD).  This annual event is my personal favorite day to work with so many of my colleagues, friends and mentors giving massages to those who work in and around the State Capitol.  Please watch for the email notices looking for commitments to volunteer.

In the Senate, we are watching SB651, ‘An Act Prohibiting the offering of Sleeping Accommodations at hotels, motels or similar lodging at an hourly rate and requiring that users of such places of public accommodation provide the operator with positive proof of identification.’  Although this does not govern or pertain to the massage industry, we are watching this for it’s effects on human trafficking in out State.

The House has two Bills that may come forward.  The first is not a direct effect on massage, but HB5754, ‘An Act Requiring Licensure of Estheticians, Eyelash Technicians and Nail Technicians’ may touch on some of our members, our businesses or the fringes of our industry.  We do, in general, support licensure for these professionals.  Our concerns are with the vague language around the education requirements and the scope of practice are one piece.  The other concern is that the Bill is asking for any business offering these services be managed by a licensed esthetician or nail tech.  For those LMT’s who own a wellness center, spa or similar office employing these professionals, the concern is that the manage may not be licensed under one of these labels, but could still manage a professional office setting.  We will keep you updated.  If you are cross-trained as any of these professional, you may want to keep special attention on this bill as well.

The second bill in the House, which is a re-introduction of a bill that died last year, is HB5440, ‘An Act Excluding Certain Activities from the Definition of Massage Therapy’.  Some of the modalities identified for exclusion from massage already are excluded (ie – reiki and qigong).  Other modalities identified really are on the border of our scope of practice anyhow (ie – Muscle Activation Technique AKA: MATR which uses ‘force application techniques’).  Other of the modalities such as therapeutic touch and healing touch, do use soft tissue manipulation and therefore are under the massage statues.  There are other professionals that are licensed to touch and may use these modalities as well. But we are not in support of calling these solely ‘energy techniques’ and therefore removing them from our profession and oversight.

We are in contact with the National Office regarding all three of these Bills and we shall let you know if there is any action needed from our profession.  At this time, these are all proposed bills.  Once these would pass into Committee and move towards consideration, there is a period for open/public comments and possibly a public hearing.  If we find ourselves needing action on these fronts, you will see an email, from National, asking for you to send an “Engage” letter.  I may call members as well to ask for letters to be sent to their individual representatives serving as committee members.  If there is an opportunity to present live testimony at the Capitol, we will let you know about that as well.

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out! And do not hesitate to let the Board know if your town has something proposed that you are concerned about.