We are thrilled to start the New Year off with news of the Chapter’s 2013-2014 legislative success!
On January 6, 2015, the last day of session, Governor Deval Patrick signed the American Massage Therapy Association, Massachusetts Chapter’s (AMTA-MA) bill into law. An Act Relative to Licensing Massage Therapists (formerly House Bill 185 and House Bill 2030) prohibits unlicensed massage therapists from advertising massage services online or through social media. This electronic advertising component of the law is critical to ensuring that the Commonwealth has more tools available to shut down illicit practices and further raise the bar of the professional practice of massage therapy. In addition, the new law clarifies that the Massachusetts license exemption for out-of-state massage therapists providing services at a charitable or sporting event in the Commonwealth is available over consecutive days for multi-day events, such as the Boston Marathon and the Pan-Mass Challenge.
The AMTA-MA extends gracious thanks and appreciation for all of the hard work and efforts of its legislative champions and bill sponsors, particularly, Chairman Antonio Cabral (New Bedford), Representative Brian Mannal (Barnstable) and Senator Daniel Wolf (Harwich). Despite the hurdles that all bills face when attempting to advance during informal legislative sessions (i.e. a single legislator can stop a bill for the remainder of the session with any question of opposition), our bill sponsors boldly accepted the challenge and worked tirelessly to advocate for passage.
Part of the final effort to pass the bill required compromise. We had to remove language relating to the definition of massage. Although a component of the original bill, the AMTA-MA is committed to continuing to work in an effort to reach consensus on this issue going forward.
To that end, today marks the beginning of the 2015-2016 legislative session. Governor Baker will be sworn in along with the new representatives and senators, many of which may represent your districts. The AMTA-MA chapter urges you to reach out to your legislators, new and returning, and introduce yourself. The Chapter’s success in advocacy continues to rely not only on our lobbying team and Legislative committee, but on each of the relationships you develop with your legislators as well as the professionalism that is echoed throughout the membership and carried through in your daily practices. Whether it is a call to action released by the Chapter at an urgent stage of the legislative process, participation in a legislator’s district event, or participation in the AMTA-MA Day on the Hill, your activism keeps this organization successful and moving forward.
Respectfully submitted by Mary White, Richard Wedegartner and Deb Nugnes, Law and Legislative Committe, Government & External Affairs AMTA-MA.