How ABMP Advocates for You

Washington DC capitol building

Our Team:

Lance Hostetter is the Director of Government Relations for ABMP.

He’s a passionate advocate who cares more about elevating you and your voice than his. In Lance’s view, legislation and government regulations are more effective and reflective when they’re drafted and implemented in partnership with practitioners and experts like you. Lance has a few education credentials and about 10 years of advocacy experience; but that’s rather boring to read (look him up on LinkedIn if you’re curious—he doesn’t mind the page views). 

Residing in Denver with his lovely wife, Kate, Lance pretends to be an urban cowboy – raising chickens, collecting eggs, beekeeping, gardening, and cuddling dogs. He also jogs regularly (just to keep the weight off), drinks microbrews (particularly those in Colorado), and picks an old guitar (somewhat competently). He and his wife, Kate, reside in Denver, but dream of vacations far and wide.  

Erin Haden is ABMP’s Government Relations Coordinator.

She has eight years of combined experience advocating for the massage therapy and cosmetology industries. With degrees in modern languages and public relations, one of Erin’s special skills is translating legalese to communicate important legislative and regulatory changes to ABMP members. Erin encourages members to become an advocate for the massage therapy community—ABMP’s Government Relations team is strongest when our activism voice is harmonizing with yours. 

Growing up on the Atlantic Ocean in Nova Scotia, Canada, Erin is still exploring her new mountainous home in Denver. Forever seeking out the water, she enjoys kayaking and even a lazy river at a water park. You can find her hiking with her elder German shepherd Norman, posturing as a cinephile, beating her husband in an intense game of minigolf, and being the best extroverted introvert. 

Our Stances On:

Licensing

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 gr@abmp.com if you would like notice of these town halls. A compact will not be in effect until 10 states pass the legislation.

Deregulation

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.

COVID-19

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.

Continuing Education

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.

Health-Care Professionals

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.

 

Get Involved

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.

News

US Department of Education 150% Rule Update

A federal judge has granted a preliminary injunction that halts the enforcement of the US Department of Education’s new Bare Minimum Rule, also known as the “100% rule,” until the court takes further action. This is the first step in what could be a lengthy battle to ultimately delay enforcement of the rule, providing schools more time to adjust their programmatic standards, or overturn the rule altogether. Find out more and what your school needs to do to prepare.

Colorado Bill Requires Local Background Checks

Governor Jared Polis signed into law House Bill 24-1371, requiring local government (counties, cities, or municipalities) to conduct periodic criminal background checks for massage establishment operators, owners, and employees.

Blog

Julie Plachta: Serving the Underserved

Woman massages a client who is lying facedown on a massage table.

As we get closer to celebrating Massage Is for EveryBody, July 14–20, 2024, we wanted to share more of Julie Plachta’s story, which exemplifies the inclusive values of this campaign.

Benefits

Featured ABMP Discount Partner: Yomassage

ABMP members receive 20% off Signature Yomassage, Mindful Touch by Yomassage, Barefoot Yomassage, Table Yomassage, and Yomassage Facials certifications.

Podcast: THE INTERSTATE MASSAGE COMPACT

Skills and experience are transferable, but your state massage license is not. On this episode of The ABMP Podcast, ABMP President and CEO Les Sweeney is joined by Debra Persinger, Executive Director at FSMTB, to discuss the Interstate Massage Compact ( IMpact ), how it would affect practitioners, where it stands in regards to legislation, and how it would benefit consumers.

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