Meet Our Team:
Laura Embleton, Government Relations Director
Embleton has been the Government Relations Director at ABMP since December 2015. She enjoys advocating on behalf of our members at state legislatures and massage therapy board meetings in-person around the country and virtually. Much of the work she does is mitigating and advocating for reasonable laws and regulations.
Erin Haden, Government Relations Coordinator
Haden has been the Government Relations Coordinator at ABMP since November 2019. She finds satisfaction in communicating to members bills and rules that positively impact their practice. She takes pride in when ABMP’s GR efforts are successful in amending or opposing adverse bills and rules.
Our Stances On:
ABMP supports fair licensing laws and rules to increase public safety and minimize undue regulatory burden on practitioners. As of 2022, there are three completely unregulated states: Kansas, Wyoming, and Minnesota. California has voluntary certification and Vermont has a massage registration. ABMP is also in favor of uniform regulation across any given state as this reduces conflicting local regulations.
Illicit Businesses, Human Trafficking, and Establishment Licensing
ABMP advocates for reasonable regulation of massage therapy establishments. Oftentimes, in an effort to address illicit businesses, laws are created that adversely affect legitimate massage establishments. It is our position that massage therapists alone should not shoulder the financial burden of countering illicit businesses. Therefore, we advocate for eliminating establishment licensing for sole practitioners who are clearly not engaging in human trafficking. We would like to see states adopt language that would result in misdemeanors for individuals who advertise massage services without a license to practice massage.
Interstate License Reciprocity
ABMP has been a vocal advocate in the interstate compact meetings. ABMP is working with others in the massage profession to advocate for massage therapists to move to other jurisdictions more easily. The compact bill language should be available for public comment by summer 2022. The Council of State Governments will host several zoom meetings over the summer to explain the proposed bill. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like notice of these town halls. A compact will not be in effect until 10 states pass the legislation.
The massage therapy profession has seen many bills and concepts being promoted at the board level that would reduce the number of educational hours required for a massage therapy license. For example, a recent bill in Utah would create a lower tier of massage therapy licensure called “Swedish-light” with the same scope of practice as an LMT, and a chair massage license was proposed in South Dakota. ABMP is opposed to creating lower tiers of practice and educational hours lower than 500.
ABMP’s Government Relations team continues to monitor state executive orders pertaining to 2022 health and safety mandates. Although most larger mandates are no longer in effect, we are still tracking state and local requirements and will inform members about any rule changes. Please check our COVID-19 State Updates page at abmp.com/updates/news/information-abmp-members-state-shutdown-orders to see what is happening in your state.
ABMP supports reasonable continuing education (CE) requirements. We believe CE encourages lifelong professional development and strengthens a massage therapist’s knowledge and skills. While we accept CE as a provision for licensure renewal, we believe the annual or biennial number of hours should not be excessive or unduly costly to the practitioner. Don’t forget, members can earn free CE at the ABMP Education Center to fulfill your CE hours at abmp.com/learn.
ABMP is participating in conversations regarding recognizing massage therapists as health-care professionals. We understand not all massage therapists consider themselves as health-care professionals—are these practitioners identified as health care workers if they exist under the health-care code of the state? If the massage practice act identifies them as health-care workers? If they work in a doctor or chiropractor’s office? Do we need to create a certification for medical massage therapists? There are many questions involved this discussion.
ABMP has a say in the regulation and laws that affect the massage profession. However, our voice alone isn’t enough, and that’s why we encourage you to get involved. Learn how to use your voice to advocate for your industry here. Learn key words and how a bill becomes a law in the legislative process and how a rule becomes a law in the regulatory process.