In April we wrote to you regarding a proposal to increase massage license fees and massage related legislation. As a refresher, the license fee increases were proposed by the Tennessee Bureau of Health Licensure and the Massage Licensure Board to compensate for a deficit in their budget. The proposal would have increased the individual massage therapist licensure renewal fee from $185 to $200 and increased the massage establishment licensure renewal fee from $135 to $250. Our Government Relations Director Laura Embleton attended the May 13, 2019, public hearing where the board unanimously withdrew the motion to increase fees. They are instead planning to decrease their travel budget, modify enforcement policy (in a non-substantive way), and allow licensure reciprocity as ways to reduce their spending and utilize reserved funds. The board agreed with pursuing these alternate solutions to address the deficit.
Thanks to those of you who attended the public hearing and/or provided comments and helped defeat the increase effort!
On the legislative front, the Tennessee legislative session concluded on April 26. Senate Bill 161 and House Bill 492, which would have replaced the entire board with new members, died.
Another noteworthy bill related to the massage profession did become law. Senate Bill 467 was signed into law on May 10, 2019, by Governor Bill Lee. As a result of this law, chiropractors, medical or surgical physicians, or osteopathic physicians who employ massage therapists are not required to obtain a massage establishment license. The law went into effect on May 10, 2019.