Oklahoma Massage Regulation Update

As you know, Oklahoma passed its massage therapy licensing statute this past spring. The next step was for the Governor to appoint members to the Massage Advisory Board, which will advise the Cosmetology Board on issues regarding massage therapist licensing. The Governor completed the appointments to the Advisory Board, and the Boards have begun their work. A primary function of the Advisory Board and Cosmetology Board is to write the rules (regulations) that will fill in the details of the massage licensing statute. The deadline for the Boards to submit rules is December 23, 2016. After that, the rules go through the notice and comment period, and then the approval process. The deadline for final approval of the rules is September, 2017.

The Advisory Board met for the first time on October 10, 2016. The meeting was attended by various stakeholders including ABMP ‘s Government Relations Director and practicing massage therapists who came to hear more about, and comment on, the rules drafting process. The Advisory Board discussed the process for creating rules.

Since the deadline for obtaining a massage therapist license is May 1, 2017, but the final rules will not be in place until September 2017, the Boards are drafting emergency/temporary rules that will apply only until the final rules are approved and issued. The emergency rules will move through the process quickly, and there will be no formal notice or formal public comment for the emergency rules. 

The Advisory Board has created four committees:  Professional Standards and Sanitation, Continuing Education, a catch-all committee to address the rest of the rules, and a legislative committee. The subcommittees are working on drafting the rules. From what we understand, the subcommittees will be submitting initial rules proposals for both the emergency and final rules by November 2. Again, there will be no formal notice and comment period for the emergency rules.  However, we are hopeful that the Cosmetology Board will accept informal comments about the emergency rules once a draft is available. When the Boards submit the proposed final rules on or before December 23, 2016, that will trigger the formal notice and comment period, which will apply to the proposed final rules.

The next meeting of the Advisory Board is Wednesday, November 2 at 10:00 at the Oklahoma State Board of Cosmetology and Barbering, 2401 NW 23rd St #84, Oklahoma City, OK 73107. ABMP will be attending the meeting on November 2, and all interested members of the public are welcome to attend as well.

Massage license applications for are still not available yet, and will not be available until the emergency rules are issued. We recommend that you continue to check the Cosmetology Board’s website for updates. Click here to access the Board’s website.   

Please let us know your thoughts and concerns. Additionally, you can direct any questions or concerns to the Cosmetology Board directly. Sherry Lewelling is the Executive Director of the Cosmetology Board. She can be reached at 405.522.7615 and slewelling@cosmo.ok.gov. Jennifer McRee is the Board’s Principal Assistant and can be reached at 405.522.7616 and jmcree@cosmo.ok.gov.