Utah’s Lower Two-Tier Massage Therapy Bill is Back

Utah’s Senate Bill 180 (SB 180) will be heard in the Business and Labor Interim Committee November 16, 2022. SB 180 seeks to create two lower tiers of licensure for “massage assistants” and “massage assistants in training.”

ABMP is opposed to SB 180. These tiers would require only 150 hours of supervised training but would have the same scope of practice as a licensed massage therapist—for reference, LMTs require 600 hours of education. In addition, the scope of practice for these two tiers would allow the practitioner to perform other modalities.

How To Fight SB 180
There may be an opportunity to express opposition to SB 180 when the bill is heard in the Business and Labor Interim Committee November 16, 2022. View the meeting agenda here. The public can attend this meeting virtually at https://le.utah.gov/interim/publicComment.jsp?mtgid=18260 or in person at the following address:

Senate Building, Room 210
120 E Capitol St.
Salt Lake City, UT, 84103

An ABMP representative will attend the hearing on November 16 and encourages you to meet that representative at the Capitol if you are near Salt Lake City or to join the meeting virtually. Contacting your legislators to express your thoughts regarding SB 180 is also an excellent way to help fight this bill. Find your legislators here. When writing your comments, ask your legislators to refer SB 180 to the Office of Professional Licensing Review, because that would allow input from the Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing, the Utah Board of Massage Therapy, and other massage therapy stakeholders.

The Issues with SB 180
SB 180 is an attempt to deregulate the massage profession in Utah, which decided years ago to require 600 hours of education in the interest of public protection. When SB 180 was first introduced, it was backed by spa owners who were having trouble hiring licensed massage therapists. Business owners were looking for an alternative pathway to allowing individuals with fewer educational hours to perform massage therapy.

There are serious public safety issues with this bill, including the potential increase of human trafficking in Utah. Also, massage assistants won’t have the proper training for contraindications in the areas of pregnancy or blood clotting, among other health issues. For a complete recap of the bill, view ABMP’s February legislative post.

Why is SB 180 Back?
SB 180 initially failed the last day of Utah’s legislative session due to a clerical error. The Utah legislature has been in an interim session since August 2022 and the interim session ends November 17. SB 180’s bill sponsors are bringing the bill up for a vote at the last minute with no notice to the massage community. The sponsors did not work with massage therapists when drafting the bill, modified it multiple times, and created a confusing process for legislators and practitioners.

Email ABMP’s Government Relations team with questions at gr@abmp.com and let us know if you will be attending the meeting or submitting comments to your legislator.