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Massage Today
September, 2010, Vol. 10, Issue 09

Police Group Seeks Even More Control Over Massage Board

By Christie Bondurant

After controversial amendments were made to the infamous "anti-prostitution" law of adding "hostile" law enforcement professionals to a California massage board, the bill gets even more contentious with its most recent language.

On August 18, amendments were made to Assembly Bill 1822, which state that two law enforcement officials will be added to the California Massage Therapy Council (CAMTC): one member selected by the California Police Chiefs Association (CPCA) and one member selected by the California State Sheriff's Association (CSSA).

Two days after these amendments were made to the CPCA-sponsored bill, a new amendment was added which would give the police groups' sole power in seating those law enforcement officials.

The new amendment states: "No more than two law enforcement professionals may serve on the board at any given time and those members may only be selected by the organizations specified in subparagraphs (F) and (G)".

What are the organizations in subparagraphs (F) and (G)? You guessed it: the CPCA and the CSSA. This would also mean that any law enforcement professional deemed adequate by other board members could be overruled by either of the police groups.

While this may seem of little consequence on the surface, it's important to remember that the CPCA is the same organization that was the driving force behind the original, and highly controversial, version of the bill. (See Massage Today article.)

Major massage associations are opposed to AB 1822 including the CAMTC, American Massage Therapy Association-California chapter and Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals. Recently, all three organizations have called for an end to the bill.

Ahmos Netanel, CAMTC executive director, who has spent several months working with the CPCA believes the police organization is not looking out for the best interests of the massage community and instead is "dangerous to the board." "A hostile police organization will handicap our ability to protect the public," he said.

In a recent opposition letter sent to state senators, CAMTC states: "After hours of negotiation, the language dismantling statewide certification has been discarded, but the bill still contains a requirement to seat the very law enforcement officials who just recently tried to do away with it."

According to an opposition letter sent by ABMP: "This bill would add a seat for a designated organization, the California Police Chiefs Association, that seeks to dramatically weaken CAMTC. California professions traditionally self-regulate. The imposition of law enforcement seats onto a health profession board would establish a dangerous precedent that could easily spread to boards regulating other professions. The responsibility of the CAMTC is to regulate the massage therapy profession, not act as vice cops - to aid law enforcement, not act as law enforcement."

Amanda Whitehead, AMTA-CA government relations chair, shared the same sentiment. "Appointing law enforcement personnel to a self-regulating board would be both unprecedented and unnecessary," said Whitehead. "The presence on the CAMTC board of representatives appointed by an organization that has proven to be openly hostile to CAMTC would be a huge step backwards for public protection and fair business regulation in California. For all these reasons, the AMTA-CA must oppose AB 1822."

The bill is currently in the state senate, where its next hearing is scheduled today, Aug. 23. According to Netanel, the bill could be voted on as soon as today and the deciding vote of the bill's fate will take place this month. "Should it pass the Senate Floor, it would then go back to the Assembly Floor for a concurrence vote. The 2009-10 Legislative Session adjourns on [Sept. 1] at midnight," said Netanel.

As this bill has potential to harm the massage community and is ineffective in protecting the public from illegal operators of massage businesses, Massage Today has created a "Vote NO on AB 1822" e-mail form that will be sent to all members of the California State Senate as well as the bill's author, State Assemblyman Sandre Swanson (D-Alameda). [Note: If you are one of the thousands who sent in the Massage Today e-mail form (when it was first created a few months ago) to state assembly members, please use our new form, which will be sent to state senators.] 

Tell CA legislators to vote no on AB 1822 by clicking here: www.massagetoday.com/bill1822/stop_ab1822.php.

Related articles:

  1. Major Massage Associations Call for CA Legislators to Kill Bill
  2. Update: AB 1822 Language Continues to Evolve

 

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