By: Dr. David Comings, Director of Legislation
Victory in Massachusetts
We have a win! Massachusetts has sent its S.168 to a study committee, which should have effectively killed it for the year. This is a great victory as this bill would have implemented a licensing regime within Massachusetts that would have been ill thought out and poorly structured. Massachusetts sought to license all “touch professions” and the scope of the law technically extended to Qi Gong and dance instruction. Too much to tackle, especially under a single bill.
Now we need to keep an eye on Vermont and Kansas. There are efforts in both states to expand licensing that we need to watch.
Kansas is considering a bill (SB 452) supported by the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA), one of our partners in the Federation, that includes the Federation’s approved exemption language. There have been some issues with this proposal, although they mostly stem from local organizations within Kansas, and not our national partners.
Vermont is looking at licensing as well, and does not seem to have clearly defined what it proposes to license. Its legislation S. 270 is being developed, and it is in the best interests of our Vermont members to keep an eye on it to see how it will impact them.
Both Vermont and Massachusetts are also considering enacting Health Freedom legislation. There are currently 13 Health Freedom States, which is a great status to have if you can keep it. Just ask Minnesota, they have been working to violate their status as a health freedom state, although for now practitioners are still safe in Minnesota.
There is a tremendous amount of activity going on in the State Legislatures. Much of this may be put on hold temporarily due to the not particularly well-defined threat of the coronavirus that emerged from China and is now impacting virtually the whole world. However, once this threat passes, the State Legislatures will get back to what they do best, and we need to keep an eye on them to ensure they do not infringe on our right to practice.
Stay safe and well as we work our way through this pandemic.