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L i s te n to T h e A B M P Po d c a s t a t a b m m /p o d c a s t s o r w h e reve r yo u a cce s s yo u r favo r i te p o d c a s t s 13 ABMP LEGISLATIVE ADVOCACY The ABMP Government Relations team is preparing for the 2023 legislative cycle. The team anticipates bills will be introduced regarding the Interstate Massage Therapy Compact (IMpact), licensure attempts in unlicensed states, and some deregulation efforts. INTERSTATE COMPACT The IMpact bill language should be fi nal by the end of 2022 and ready for legislators and states to run the bill in the 2023 legislative session. The compact will go into effect once at least seven states pass the bill. Currently, the bill language requires states that participate in the compact to accept the MBLEx and require a criminal background check and continuing education for license renewal. Individuals who would like to obtain a multistate license cannot have restrictions against their license and must have at least 625 hours of education. It is likely that counting continuing education in place of training hours for those who have less than 625 hours will be accepted—this provision will be created in rulemaking. The compact is for a multistate license that requires the licensee to have a home state. Those living in a state that adopts the compact will be able to work temporarily in other states that also adopt the compact. If one is moving to another state, they will need to follow the existing licensure-by-endorsement rules for the new state. LICENSING BILLS ABMP anticipates licensing bills will be introduced in Kansas, Minnesota, and Wyoming in the 2023 legislative session. ABMP has been working with stakeholders to bring licensure to these states. If the bills pass, they would require all massage therapists in those states to obtain a state license to practice massage. ABMP will be contacting its members in these jurisdictions as we move forward to support the bills and licensing efforts. BARRIERS TO ENTRY/DEREGULATION Legislators are increasingly interested in streamlining regulatory statutes and addressing barriers to entry. Utah, for example, will be reintroducing Senate Bill 180 (SB 180), which proved to be extremely problematic and caused an uprising in the massage therapy community in 2022. Utah legislators see SB 180 as a way to introduce new people to the practice of massage therapy without subjecting them to all the necessary requirements of a licensed massage therapist. The bill will create two additional tiers of massage therapists: massage assistants and massage assistants in training. Both would be allowed to practice under the indirect supervision of doctors, chiropractors, and others. Education requirements include 150 hours of instruction at a school or under the direct supervision of a massage therapist, doctor, chiropractor, or other; 150 hours of indirect practical training and education; and passing an exam approved by the Board of Massage Therapy. Massage assistants in training would be allowed to have this specific license for six months, after which time they would need to apply for the massage assistant license. For reference, massage therapists in Utah require 600 hours of education. The new tiers will have the same scope of practice as a licensed massage therapist. ABMP foresees other states creating similar efforts as SB 180 under the guise of reducing barriers to entry to the profession. ABMP is not in favor of these deregulation bills. Montana is streamlining regulatory laws through Governor Greg Gianforte's Red Tape Relief Initiative. They are proposing to repeal the purpose language in the Massage Practice Act that classifies massage therapists as being associated with health care. This is the only time health care is mentioned in conjunction with massage therapy in the practice act. Without this, there is nothing linking massage therapy to health care in the act, and it could be interpreted that massage therapy is not a medical alternative for pain management or viewed as a health care profession. This initiative would also remove all the Board statutory requirements regarding rulemaking, including the language that 12 hours of education are required for renewal. Without this language, the Board might have the ability to modify the CE rules, by requiring more or less hours. The statute should state the required hours so there is clear direction to the board. Continuing education requirements remain in the rule currently. ABMP anticipates other states may attempt to reduce the red tape in regulatory statutes. ABMP's Government Relations team will keep members informed of proposed legislation and our advocacy efforts as we move through the 2023 legislative cycle. Laura Embleton is the ABMP director of government relations. To contact ABMP government relations email Interstate Compact, Unlicensed States, and Deregulation By Laura Embleton

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