FL Bill Would Impose New Requirements for Massage Establishments

Florida Senate Bill 500 (and companion bill: House Bill 7005, affecting massage establishments, has been scheduled for a hearing in the state legislature.  Current law requires that all massage establishments, defined as “a site or premises, or portion thereof, wherein a massage therapist practices massage,” must have a state-issued license in order to operate.  HB 7005 proposes to add requirements that a person operating a massage establishment may not: (1) operate a massage establishment between the hours of 10 pm and 6 am, unless the massage establishment is a health care facility or hotel, or unless all massages are performed under the supervision of a physician or other specified health care professional, or (2) use the establishment, or permit it to be used, as a principal domicile, unless it is zoned under a local ordinance for residential use.  Any person violating these requirements would guilty of a misdemeanor for the first offense, and a third degree felony for subsequent offenses.

The language of the bill states that while the legislature recognizes that the majority of massage establishments are operated by law-abiding citizens, a small number are operated in order to conduct illegal activity, such as human trafficking.  The text of the bill states that it is the legislature’s intent to protect the public, and the massage profession, from those establishments that engage in illegal activity.

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