South Dakota Bill Would Repeal the Regulation of Massage Therapists

House bill 1126 was introduced and referred to the House Energy and Commerce Committee where it was passed (11-2) on January 25, 2013. The bill will now be voted on by all members of the state House of Representatives (House) and if passed, will advance to the Senate for the same process. HB 1126 would repeal the Massage Therapy Practice Act (Act) and massage therapists would no longer be regulated in the state. ABMP is opposed to the bill and we have contacted the bill sponsors to voice our opposition but as of yet, we do not know the motivation or reason behind the bill.

The current law sets minimum training requirements, defines a scope of practice, provides an avenue for consumer complaint, and pre-empts local regulations. South Dakota has been regulating massage therapists since 2005 and the licensing requirements are the same as the majority of the 44 states and 3 US territories that regulate the profession. If problems with the current law have been identified, we are happy to work with the bill sponsors and the State Massage Therapy Board to amend the law in a productive manner, but there is no known reason to repeal the entire Act.

We encourage all ABMP members to contact their state legislators in the House of Representatives to voice your opposition. If you don’t know who your representatives are, you may go to and search by District, County, or City.

Click on your legislators name and their contact information will appear. Next to email appears: “Contact Representative (name)” Click and fill out the email form:

  • Type your email address in the “From” line. You can even send yourself a copy of the email.
  • Under “Subject” write: HB 1126 – oppose.
  • A simple, direct message is best. Example: “My name is Jane Smith, I am a licensed massage therapist and have been practicing 5 years. I oppose HB 1126 (the repeal of the massage therapy practice act) because I firmly believe consumers deserve to know their health care provider has met minimum education and training requirements to practice massage therapy safely. I reside in your district, please represent me by voting “no” on HB 1126.”

The state system makes it easy to voice your opinion. Please do not hesitate to contact legislators, they have chosen to serve in public life and we are all obligated to make our views known to them.

About Kelly Noble

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