The following report was shared with our members in our last newsletter and is the most recent report regarding HB185. We continue to converse with our lobbyists and bill sponsors on an almost daily basis and our bill is still on the table for the 2014 informal session.
As you may know, the AMTA-Massachusetts Chapter (AMTA-MA) has been working to update Chapter 135 of the Acts of 2006, the massage therapy practice act. This legislation, which received a favorable vote from the Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure earlier this year, addresses various issues that have since come before the Board of Registration in Massage Therapy. House Bill 185 was then referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means where it remains today. While formal sessions have concluded for the 2013-2014 legislative session, the AMTA-MA will be working to advance House Bill 185 in informal sessions, which run until the beginning of the next legislative session in January 2015.
The AMTA-MA made every effort to urge the House to advance this legislation and pass it to the Senate for further consideration prior to the end of formal sessions, July 31st. The AMTA’s Massachusetts constituency rallied in the weeks leading up to the close of formal sessions, by logging calls and emails to their Representatives. In addition, AMTA leadership and our lobbying team pushed for movement with the bill sponsors and leadership in the House Ways and Means Committee. Although the legislature worked past midnight on the 31st, the House Committee on Ways and Means did not send many bills to the House floor for a vote in the final week.
As stated, we will continue to try to advance our legislation this session. While informal sessions present unique challenges for advancing contentious legislative matters because a single question of opposition can stall further progress through the process, our legislation has not generated much, if any, known opposition this session. As a result, our bill sponsors feel confident that House Bill 185, being a more technical piece of legislation, may be moved by the House Ways and Means Committee in an informal session this fall.
As always, please be on the lookout for further calls to action; make sure your legislator has heard from you on this matter. The Representatives you reached out to understand that this is a priority for their constituents. Your continued input is a critical component to moving any bill through the legislative process. To that end, keep sharing your feedback and outreach with the AMTA-MA; this too has helped the association to advocate on your behalf.
Continuing Education Regulations
The CEs are currently being reviewed by the higher ups in the state process (above the board level / board counsel) per the normal process. The issue is that they have a variety of regs they are looking to move for various boards. Our hope is that they will all get moved soon.
Reinstating LMT license after a lapse in practicing.
The governor has signed the DPL reorg piece that limits how far back you have to pay for reinstating your license. For example, if you were not practicing for 5 years; you had to pay 5 years renewal fees. Now it is limited, no matter how long it has been, to a max of two renewal fees.
Dual room use for Cosmetology and Massage Therapy
The governor reform legislation requires Cosmotology board to promulgate regulations allowing massage and Cosmotology to occur in the same room as long as you have a Cosmo facility and MT establishment license.
The governor's reform piece states, in describing Cosmotology license, that "Nothing shall be deemed to authorize a (Cosmo) licensee to engage in massage or any other occupation requiring a license to the extent such services fall outside the scope of the license issued by the board."
The above language tries to keep Cosmo in its lane so to speak so they do not intentionally or unintentionally try to expand on some of the language they already have.
The Coalition for Non Medical Providers
The AMTA-MA chapter has been a part of this coalition since 2010.This coalition has joined together to advance principals of non-discrimination while highlighting the distinct advantages of successfully incorporating other types of non-MD licensed providers into both current and emerging health care models. With the end of the 2013-2014 formal sessions behind us, we are coming upon the ideal time to identify potential legislative and regulatory strategies for the coalition that will serve to strengthen the group’s shared objectives into the next session. A meeting has been set for September 30 to discuss additional ways in which these provider groups can work together to advance shared goals and objectives. At least one of the law and Legislative team will be in attendance at that meeting.
Day on the Hill Oct 16
We continue to work to educate our legislators and no year is more important than this year. More on this topic in the NMTAW report.
Respectfully submitted by Mary White, Law and Legislative Chair, with thanks to Richard Wedegartner and Deb Nugnes for their ongoing work on this committee.