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.
Kimberly Sullivan, Esq.
Lynch Associates, Inc.