Forming Now: CA MT Network Facebook group Task force.
CA is one of the last states without state massage licensing requirements. The process that they have now is something called a Certification, which is voluntary and is run by the California Massage Therapy Council. (CAMTC) By using the word Certification in their language, it creates more confusion. A Certification in the massage profession and most professions are given by a Certification Agency which is a third party company like the National Certification Board for Massage and Bodywork. See the glossary of terms for more info.
The CAMTC is an interesting organization. They have board members from each of the associations ( AMTA, ABMP ) and also from law enforcement officials. They were created in 2009 as a way to help separate massage therapists from the sex workers/brothels yet the language they use entangles massage therapists MORE with sexually oriented businesses. They use the words “Illicit Massage Business (IMB) ” to describe what really is a brothel disguised as a massage business which is really the main problem. If the general public understood that it did not have anything to do with massage or massage therapy and that it was a brothel in their neighborhood, things could be different. This is a societal issue and the CAMTC has made it a massage profession issue. To learn more about this confusion start with reading: Massage is Therapy.
History of the Massage Therapy Laws in CA
In 1978 and again in 1984, licensing laws were introduced and failed.
2004: Assembly Bill 1388 (Kehoe) would have created a licensing act. This measure also failed.
2006: Senate Bill 412 (Figueroa) would have established a nonprofit Massage Therapy Organization, but did not pass out of the Assembly.
September 2008: Senate Bill 731 (Oropeza) was signed into law, establishing title protection and voluntary certification, and authorizing the creation of the nonprofit governingentity, the Massage Therapy Organization (later renamed the California Massage Therapy Council) and re-authorized by Assembly Bill 1147 and again in 2016 by assembly bill 2194.
Assembly Bill 1147 (Bonilla, Gomez, and Holden) made changes to the certification process, CAMTC board composition, and the process for certificate denials and discipline.
Assembly Bill 2194 (Salas) signed into law in September 2016 extends the sunset date for CAMTC by four years. In addition, the new law clarifies the procedures related to certificate denials and discipline and requires local jurisdictions to impose only reasonable fees and regulations
June 2016 (PDF) Report Prepared Pursuant to Business and Professions Code section 4620
Dec 2016 Licensure or Certification? (PDF) A Feasibility Study of Licensure for Massage Therapists in
California Prepared for California Massage Therapy Council In Response to Requirements in Business and Professions Code Section 4620(a)(1) December 21, 2016. The report was prepared by Matthew Newman, Katrina Connolly and Len Finocchio of the Blue Sky Consulting Group for the California Massage Therapy Council in response to requirements in Business and Professions Code Section 4620(a)(1). The conclusions of this report are those of the authors.
A (Very) Brief History of the Massage Therapy Act in California from AMTA-CA (PDF)
Where are we? How did we get here? First, some definitions:
The Massage Therapy Act: This is the state law that defines the qualifications for our voluntary certification, governs the California Massage Therapy Council (CAMTC) in issuing that certification, and sets standards of conduct for our profession. It also sets some limitations on how we can be regulated by local (city and county) massage ordinances. See California Business and Professions Code Section 4600-4621 for the full text.
The California Massage Therapy Council: The not-for-profit, non-governmental public benefit corporation that certifies massage providers under legislative authority.
SB 731: The bill, signed into law in 2008, which authorized creation of the Massage Therapy
Act and the CAMTC and allowed voluntary statewide certification of massage therapists
beginning in September of 2009. HOW SB 731 APPLIES TO CERTIFIED MASSAGE THERAPISTS (PDF from archive.org) from AMTA-CA
SB 1238 (Price) (Chapter 655, Statutes of 2012) “expanded upon AB 619 by adding additional requirements to school credit hours and the examination and training requirements for purposes of certification; the grounds for suspension, denial or revocation of certification of the certificate holder; the sharing of information between local law enforcement and CAMTC; the responsibility of owner/operators of massage businesses for conduct of employees or their independent contractors and
background checks of owner/operators; and the ability of local government to restrict the operation of massage businesses involved in prior criminal activity.” From 2015 Presentation: Massage Regulation And Restoration Of Local Land Use Authority (PDF)
AB 1147: The bill, signed into law in 2014, which significantly altered the terms of the Massage
therapy Act, returning significant land use and establishment authority to local jurisdictions.
Land Use Authority: The power to regulate the terms and locations in which massage establishments are allowed to open.
Business regulation authority: The power to regulate (in our particular case) the terms under
which massage establishments are allowed to operate in a city or county, from permitting of the
business to health and safety requirements.
2015 Presentation: Massage Regulation And Restoration Of Local Land Use Authority (PDF) Under AB 1147 May 6, 2015 . Natalie C. Karpeles, Deputy City Attorney, Lomita, Malibu and Palos Verdes Estates Patrick Q. Sullivan, Assistant City Attorney, Torrance
ABMP was able to release publicly draft legislation describing how we would see massage licensing working along with a required 60-page Sunrise Questionnaire.
Current Massage Therapy Act (PDF) – www.CAMTC.org
BACKGROUND PAPER FOR THE California Massage Therapy Council Joint Sunset Review Oversight (PDF) on Hearing, March 9, 2021 Assembly Committee on Business and Professions and the Senate Committee on Business, Professions and Economic Development IDENTIFIED ISSUES, BACKGROUND, AND RECOMMENDATIONS REGARDING THE CALIFORNIA MASSAGE THERAPY COUNCIL
California Massage Therapy Council’s (PDF) Response to Committees’ 2021 Background Paper for the California Massage Therapy Council’s Sunset Review.
Proposed Licensing for California Massage Therapists
03/25/2022 ABMP: California Massage Licensing A Vitally Important Opportunity for the Massage “Profession ABMP believes that requiring licensure for all California massage professionals would help practicing professionals by providing consistent rules, a level service environment for all practitioners, reasonable fees, and due process protections for therapists accused of improper behavior.”
Legislative and Policy Developments from ABMP
11/03/2022 Update on Potential CAMTC Fee Increase from ABMP
AMTA-CA chapter has been holding webinars to teach MT’s how to connect with legislators. See their Facebook Page .
National Convening: Human Trafficking in Illicit Massage January 11-12, 2023 OMNI Hotel at California Plaza