The Texas legislature evaluated the role of rehabilitation in relation to criminal history and license eligibility this session and adopted Senate Bill 483. The bill permits the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) the authority to review applications on a case-by-case basis, giving TDLR the opportunity to take into consideration an applicant’s criminal history in relation to the practice of massage therapy.
The bill allows victims of human and/or sex trafficking, who may have been forced to provide massage in sexually oriented businesses, to practice massage therapy once they complete rehabilitation. However, TDLR will be able to administer appropriate penalties when necessary.
Previously, TDLR was required to deny or revoke a massage therapy license if an individual practiced massage therapy at a sexually oriented business or was found guilty of prostitution or another sexual offense. This prevented individuals, some of whom were victims of human trafficking, from the opportunity to begin, or to continue practicing, massage therapy after rehabilitation or completing sentencing requirements.
Under this new bill, TDLR may now consider each person’s criminal history—including federal offenses and any offense committed in another state—along with rehabilitative efforts when determining whether a massage therapy license should be issued or renewed.
Effective date: May 13, 2023.