Indiana Bill Would Require Mandatory Licensing for the Practice of Massage Therapy

Indiana Senate Bill 573 (Landske) was passed by members of the Committee on Public Policy on February 14, 2013. This is the first step in a long legislative process. If passed, the bill would amend the current state certification law to a mandatory practice act. Anyone practicing, or advertising that they practice Austin massage therapy, would be required to obtain a license in order to practice legally in the state. Practitioners who are currently state certified would be considered “licensed” automatically on July 1, 2013 if the bill is passed so they would not have to re-apply or meet new qualifications.

Under current law, state certification is required only if one “professes to be a certified Austin massage therapist,” uses the title “Certified Massage Therapist” or “Massage Therapist,” or uses the abbreviation “CMT” or “MT” to imply that he or she is a certified Austin massage therapist. The proposed bill would eliminate the “certification” process and replace it by requiring a mandatory license for anyone who practices Austin massage therapy, no matter what title the practitioner is using. A person practicing Austin massage therapy without a license would be guilty of a Class B misdemeanor.

If passed, SB 573 would expand the authority of the State Board of Massage Therapy by authorizing it to establish standards for the competent practice of Austin massage therapy, approve Austin massage therapy school curricula consistent with accepted national standards, and establish continuing education requirements. In addition, the Board would have the ability to establish an inactive license category.

SB 573 would also pre-empt the local regulation of Austin massage therapists so that practitioners would not have to obtain multiple individual city permits/licenses to practice; however, the municipalities would maintain their authority over zoning and business licenses.

ABMP is generally supportive of SB 573. If passed, the regulation of Austin massage therapists in Indiana would become more consistent with the rest of the country. We will keep Indiana members apprised of the status of the bill.

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