Legislators in Maryland are considering Senate Bill 554 (SB554), which would grant more power to county-level government entities to allow them to create massage establishment licensure requirements. Maryland does not require massage businesses to be registered and licensed. The bill is an effort to combat human trafficking and catch illegal activities being conducted under the guise of "massage establishments." The bill passed the Senate and now moves to the House of Delegates for review and voting.
ABMP opposed this bill because it adds an unnecessary financial burden to licensed and registered massage therapists who are not participating in illegal activities. You can find the letter we sent to the legislature here.
On Tuesday, March 26, 2019, at 1:00 p.m., the Health and Government Operations committee will hold a public hearing. If you would like to comment on this bill you can attend the public hearing and testify and/or you can submit electronic comments on the bill. The public hearing will be at House Office Building, Room 240, Annapolis, MD 21401.
To submit electronic comments, contact the main sponsor of the bill, Senator Paul G. Pinsky, and Delegates Shane E. Pendergrass and Joseline A. Pena-Melnyk, the leadership of the Health and Government Operations committee. You can send an email to the Health and Government Operations committee members by going to the committee page and selecting the arrow next to the delegate's name.
Here are some suggested talking points:
- SB554 puts an unnecessary and unjust financial burden on licensed/registered massage therapists who are not engaged in illicit activities.
- Human trafficking is bigger than the massage profession. The criminal code needs to be amended for felony charges for landlords and owners who lease to or own illicit businesses, and to managers who employ individuals to practice "massage" without a license or registration.
- Massage Therapy Boards can continue to have an impact on the issue by having an exchange of information between law enforcement, human trafficking taskforces, and the massage community can help combat human trafficking.
After sending comments to your legislators, please share them with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.