Minor Changes to South Carolina’s Massage Law are Adopted

Senate Bill S. 214, signed into law by Governor Nikki Haley on June 7, 2013, amends South Carolina’s Massage/Bodywork Practice Act (MPA) in several ways.  Many of the changes are minor wording changes.  However, there are some important substantive changes as well.  Previously, the massage profession in South Carolina was regulated by two separate panels under the Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation:  an “Advisory Panel” and a “Disciplinary Panel.”  S. 214 combines these two panels into one “Panel for Massage/Bodywork.”  The new Panel will be composed of seven members, one of whom must be a public member with no financial interest in the massage profession.  The Panel has the authority to advise and make recommendations on massage regulations and statutory changes, mediate consumer complaints, conduct hearings on licensure determinations, address and decide alleged violations of the MPA, issue witness subpoenas, require the production of documents, and recommend disciplinary actions.  The law also authorizes standard compensation for board member service.

The bill also changes the massage licensure requirements by stating, at section 40-30-110, that license applicants must complete 500 hours of classroom study at an approved school, among other requirements.  The prior law, by contrast, stated that applicants must complete 500 hours of supervised study at an approved school.  As a result, the law makes clear that any out-of-classroom coursework cannot count toward the minimum required 500 hours.  If a massage program is more than 500 hours, out-of-classroom work is allowed as long as at least 500 hours are in class.

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