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Colorado Bill Requires Local Background Checks


Before it’s “business as usual” in massage establishments, businesses must meet new background check requirements. Earlier this month, 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. Bill drafters and sponsors view this as a measure to prevent illicit massage criminal activity and human trafficking.

Current and prospective massage facility operators, owners, and employees must complete a fingerprint-based criminal history record check. Local governments must create a process to ensure all massage businesses within their borders submit required background checks.

Please note: “Employee” does not include licensed massage therapists or independent contractors, such as persons hired to perform janitorial services or other routine facility maintenance. These individuals do not need to submit background checks—massage therapists are already required to submit background checks as part of their initial license application.

An operator is a person who operates a massage facility and may or may not be licensed, depending on local business licensing ordinance requirements. If an operator is a massage therapist, they do not need to submit a background check to the local authority in addition to the one submitted for their initial state licensure.

An owner is a person who holds a legal ownership interest in a massage facility. If an owner is a massage therapist, they do not need to submit a background check.

Current operators, owners, and employees must submit a background check on or before October 1, 2025, unless they are a licensed massage therapist who has already submitted a background check to the state. Every prospective operator, owner, or employee who is not a massage therapist must submit a background check at least 30 days before being granted a license to operate, becoming an owner, or being employed by a massage establishment.

A person cannot be a massage business owner or employee if they:

  • Have not submitted a background check
  • Have been convicted of or entered an accepted plea of nolo contendere for a felony or misdemeanor for prostitution, solicitation of a prostitute, a human trafficking offense, money laundering, or similar crimes
  • Are registered as a sex offender or are required by law to register as a sex offender
  • Have a pending criminal action that involves or is related to these offenses