In a piece at The California Pogress Report, California State Senator Jenny Oropeza writes about her measure, Senate Bill 731, which came in to law on the first of January:
Up until now, regulation of the practice of professional massage therapy has been left to local counties and cities. In larger metropolitan areas, different massage practitioners could be subject to several different sets of rules and regulations, all within a few miles. Some cities require a license, proof of training and/or a background check. Others have no requirements at all.
In some locales, massage is part of a thriving genuine therapeutic health care system. In other places, however, it is notorious for being part of the sex trade. Orange County requires therapists to submit a set of fingerprints and pass a written test. At the other extreme, San Francisco has created a dual system that recognizes therapeutic massage practitioners on one hand and adult entertainment massage workers on the other.
Legitimate massage therapists, many of whom undergo hundreds of hours of professional training, at great expense, are offended by being tarred with the brush of illegality and harassment from investigators. The system, if it can be called that, is clearly broken.
My bill creates a new non-profit statewide organization, the Massage Therapy Organization to certify legitimate massage practitioners and therapists. Our goal is to help both massage therapists and law enforcement by setting clear, consistent statewide rules. In addition, statewide certification of massage therapy will provide consumers with recourse if they are harmed in the process of receiving a massage. These new rules will also help consumers determine which providers are legitimate and which are not.
In addition, the new law would require that massage therapists or practitioners meet the following requirements:
• Be age 18 or older.
• Complete either 500 hours of training for therapists or 250 hours for massage practitioners.
• Pass a criminal background check, including fingerprinting.
• Pay a nominal fee to the Massage Therapy Organization.
• Pass an exam approved by the Massage Therapy Organization.
The new rules formulated by the MTO would be standard across the state and will supersede local laws. The organization will be entirely self-funded and there will be no costs to state taxpayers.