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Massage Industry Regulation Sunset Review Committee Scheduled for March 10

League Advocating for Revised Regulations to Give Cities Effective Local Control to Combat Illegal Activity

February 19, 2014
With SB 731 (Oropeza) set to sunset on Jan. 1, 2015, work continues on analyzing the effects of this 2008 legislation that established a voluntary certification process through the California Massage Therapy Council (CAMTC) for massage professionals.
The Assembly Business, Professions and Consumer Protection Committee and the Senate Business, Professions and Economic Development Committee have scheduled a meeting on the matter on Monday, March 10 at 9 a.m. in the State Capitol, Room 4203. The committee will issue a report prior to the March 10 hearing, which the League will make available.

The voluntary certification process created by SB 731 had a dangerous unintended consequence for local governments because cities and counties are prohibited from regulating businesses that claim to hire only certified massage professionals. This subsequently led to an increase in the number of massage establishments offering illicit services in communities throughout California and an increase in human trafficking.
March 10 Hearing
The League will be testifying before the joint committee and is asking city officials to make their voices heard in the Capitol on this critical issue. The League’s Massage Regulation webpage contains background information about SB 731 and the League’s priorities in the sunset review process.
The League has heard from many cities about this issue and is working to ensure that cities regain the tools they lost to address the problems associated with the passage of SB 731 if the provisions are extended.

Some of these priorities include:
  • Having a state agency oversee the certification/licensing of massage professionals instead of a nonprofit. 
  • Offering the owners of massage establishments an option to be registered or certified with CAMTC or the local government. By having businesses registered, the owners will have a vested interest in abiding by the law. This would address a larger problem for local governments that we hear, which is that CAMTC can only revoke the certificates of individual employees.  
  • Authorizing local government to regulate massage businesses if the owner if not certified or registered. This provision would encourage all owners to be certified or registered. 
  • Modifying the language that authorizes local governments to regulate massage businesses to the extent a jurisdiction “uniformly” regulates other business professionals.  Because cities and counties do not uniformly regulate business professional, the existing law effectively prevents the regulation of the massage industry. 
  • Authorizing CAMTC to discipline owners that fail to obtain and maintain the local certificate of registration. This provision would help link the local permit with the certification. 
  • Changing the provision in existing law provides that cities can only charge a business license fee that is not higher than the lowest fee for other professional services. This should be changed from lowest to average if the massage industry wants to be treated no better no worse than other professional businesses. 
  • Authorizing jurisdictions to restrict a massage establishment from opening in the same location where one was previously closed due to either CAMTC disciplinary action or because of the disciplinary action of the local jurisdiction in the last year. 
  • Adding a law enforcement position to the CAMTC board.

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