Started But Not Finished!
Legislative Update 03-29-15
The Legislature is now taking a 10 day break and the deadline for bills to get through policy committees was Friday, March 27th. Our bill made it out of the House Health and Human Services Reform committee with the support of Tara Mack57A in Apple Valley. This was a major hurdle but unfortunately, like many other bills was not heard by the Government Operations Committee. This means that the bill will not proceed further this year. While disappointing, we definitely made it through a tough committee and the bill will start in House Government Operations Committee and Senate Health and Human Services policy next year. We are in a good position to start next year with great authors ((Nick Zerwas 30A and (Chris Eaton 40) who are proven fighters for our cause. Our lobbyists are still busy communicating with legislators and developing strategies to build on this year.
We are working on a plan for next year and know that we can not do it without YOU! Grassroots advocacy will be key to our success during the interim when we are building support for the next year and during the 2016 legislative session. We need the support of you, your clients, your business, your employer, your Doctor or Chiropractor or Physical Therapist. If you would like to support the grassroots effort of the Alliance for Legislation of Massage Therapy, you can contact Susan Tietjen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We want to thank all of you who responded to our action alerts and communicated with your legislator by phone, email or in-person. Also, a special thank you to all of you who came to the Capitol for the hearing or for meetings with legislators. We need to continue this momentum and hope that you will stay focused with us.
A good way to start building for next year is to take the time and send a thank you note to your legislator if they are one of the authors or co-authors. Below is a list of the authors in the House and Senate. Again if you are a constituent of any of these Legislators, please take the time to say THANK YOU! For those of you who live in districts where your legislator is not an author please take the time to review the fact sheet and send an email, make a phone call or attend in district meeting and encourage your legislator to support HF 644/SF1310in the future. In the House they can still sign on as a co-author. As you make these contacts please send a note to email@example.com that we can track our activities and be efficient with our efforts.
Please help us keep moving forward. We plan to finish in 2016 what we started this year!
Thank you for all your support!!
House Authors and Allies:
Nick Zerwas, 30A Elk River/Big Lake;
Joe McDonald 29A Rockford/Annadale/Delano;
Jerry Newton 37A Spring Lake Park;
Laurie Halverson 51B Eagan;
Dan Schoen 57A South St. Paul/Cottage Grove;
Matt Dean 38B White Bear Lake;
Bob Gunther 23A Blue Earth/Martin County;
Diane Loeffler 60A Northeast Minneapolis;
Tony Albright 55B Prior Lake/Jordan;
Peter Fischer 43A Maplewood/Mahtomedi;
Carolyn Laine 41B St. Anthony/New Brighton/Columbia Heights;
Ron Erhardt 49A Edina;
Joe Schomacker 22A Rock County/Murray County/Pipestone County;
Sabdra Masin 51A Burnsville;
Karen Clark 62A Minneapolis;
Kathy Lohmer 39B Oak Park Heights/Bayport/Lake Elmo;
Rena Moran 65A St. Paul;
Peggy Scott 35B Andover;
Mike Frieberg 45B Robinsdale/Crystal/Golden Valley;
Debra Hilstrom 40B Brooklyn Park/Brooklyn Center;
Linda Slocum 50A Bloomington/Richfield;
Alice Hausman 66A Lauderdale/Roseville/Falcon Heights;
Phyllis Kahn 60B Minneapolis;
Tim Miller 17A Swift County/Chippewa County/Renville County;
Dave Baker 17B Kandiyohi County;
Jeffery Backer 12A Big Stone County/Stevens County/Grant County/Traverse County/Wilkins County;
Jason Rarick 11B Kamabec County/Pine County;
Ben Lien 04A Moorehead
Senate Authors and Allies:
Chris Eaton District 40 Brooklyn Park/Brooklyn Center
Sandra Pappas District 65 St. Paul
Dave Thompson District 58 Dakota County
Sean Nienow District 32 Isanti County/Chisago County
Tony Lourey District 11 Carlton County/Pine County
This is a bill that is good for:
A uniform registration process will provide peace of mind for clients that they are working with vetted professionals who are bound to an enforceable standard of conduct. Also, by eliminating the fencing created by city-by-city regulation, it will likely increase the number of service providers available to work in any given area.
In 2009, the legislature tasked the Minnesota Council of Health Boards with reviewing the need for this regulatory process. Their report found that there is an, “overall compelling state interest” in regulating this industry to protect public health and safety from the actions of unqualified, unethical, improperly trained practitioners who are not currently proactively regulated. The Advocates for Human Rights recently wrote a letter in support which stated:
HF 644 presents the State of Minnesota with an additional tool in the fight against human trafficking in our communities. It provides a recognizable designation for professional massage and bodywork therapists that may aid in the identification of fake massage businesses which operate as commercial front brothels.
Voluntary registration will make it much easier for employers to make informed hiring decisions. Participating practitioners would provide a list of their education and certifications to certify their qualifications, as well as submit to a background check. This standard is currently in place in 45 other states, including all of Minnesota’s neighboring states.
Massage and Bodywork therapy providers currently are very limited in where they can work due to the patchwork of city regulations that implement fees that can be hundreds or even thousands of dollars annually for each city. Many practitioners working in more than one location are currently required to pay fees in every city in which they intend to work. One state credential would dramatically simplify the regulatory burden on this small business profession.
Local governments have far too many things on their plate to dedicate the necessary time to crafting and enforcing local regulations on massage and bodywork therapists. The League of Minnesota Cities supports state registration of these providers as Minnesota is one of only five states to burden local governments with the responsibility of regulating these professionals.