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Massage Today
May 24, 2010

Calif. Police Chiefs Refuse to Make Prostitution Data Public

Data Used to Justify Bill Targeting Massage Therapists

By Christie Bondurant

The California Police Chiefs Association has refused to provide details of the key data that was used to justify a controversial anti-prostitution bill that targets massage therapists.

In a Feb. 21, 2010 letter to Assembly Member Sandre Swanson, CPCA President Susan Manheimer wrote, "We recently did a random/regional sample of CAMTC applicants and found that 57% were known prostitutes, 32% were of unknown legitimacy and required further inquiry, and only 11% were legitimate operators."

The CAMTC (California Massage Therapy Council) is a two-year-old state board that is currently charged with certifying therapists in the state.

Swanson introduced AB 1822 Feb. 11, which, as of now, would effectively neuter the CAMTC and essentially return the state to a much-criticized system that gave local police departments the authority to issue work permits.

Since April, Massage Today has made various attempts to see any evidence that supports the CPCA survey. The most recent attempt was in a May 18 letter sent to Manheimer, invoking the California Public Records Act.

But, in a May 24 letter sent to Massage Today, CPCA lobbyist John Lovell made it very clear that the police group will not provide any data:

"We appreciate your interest in the research we have been doing on massage parlor licensing but the California Police Chiefs Association is a private corporation, not a public agency, and is not supported solely by public funds, therefore, the Public Records Act does not apply in this case."

In April, when Massage Today first asked to view the data used to produce this survey, Lovell stated that it was based on a summary of sensitive information that he could not supply.

Then when asked to see the collected data that was shared with the author of the bill (Swanson), Lovell stated that it was in a letter sent to Swanson proposing AB 1822, and to contact his office for it.

And now, according to the May 24 letter, the CPCA will not share the information because they are a private organization.

"It is patently obvious that there is no data, no research or anything resembling either," said Mike Schroeder, CAMTC board member. "The CPCA continues to hide behind a facade; they obviously never expected anyone to challenge their blatant slander of the massage therapy profession."

The thinly sourced data has catapulted the anti-prostitution bill, targeting massage therapists, through various governing bodies to where it currently sits at the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

However, massive opposition from the massage community over the proposed bill has caused its proponents to back down on the most controversial aspect of the law: local police certification for work permits.

That issue and other amendments to the bill are expected to be put before the  Appropriations Committee on Friday, May 28. 

Massage Today will continue to follow this story, providing updates as available. For other Massage Today articles on this issue, read:

 

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