Government Relation Updates

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Save The Date February 18, 2019

'A Day at the Capitol'

Luke Martin, one of our lobbyists, has made arrangements for us to attempt another 'Chair Massage' event at the Capitol. He has gotten approval for us to be on the Fourth Floor Rotunda on February 18, 2019 from the hours of 12:00 PM to 3:00 PM. We will be allowed to have 10 massage chairs set up as well as two information tables. We are aware that the 18th of February is President's Day in 2019 and Luke assures us that the Legislators will be present and in session.

Like last year we will need at least 10 volunteers to help with this event. Everyone is welcomed and encouraged to join us, so share with those therapists you network with. They don't need to be an AMTA member. It would be great to have at least 30 licensed massage therapists present to make sure we keep a steady flow for the Legislators and their staff to be able to get a 10 minute massage. Allowing massage therapists an opportunity to engage with the Legislators to express gratitude for seeing the value of regulating massage and the importance of keeping it that way. We have decided to move the dialogue from Human Trafficking to the health issues surrounding opioid use legally and illegally.

We all know how Oklahoma weather can be, so please know that we don't expect anyone to put themselves in harms way. If snow or ice storms hit, the Capitol will be closed, we will do our best to get the word out but we know some may not get the notice. So I am addressing it now so no one needs to feel guilty about backing out due to inclement weather. We understand!

The Chapter Board is working on having appropriate polo shirts designed for AMTA-OK chapter members to wear. These will be available to members only, if they want. Otherwise we ask that everyone dress professionally for the event. This means: dress slacks paired with a dress or polo shirt; or scrubs. You can pair scrub bottoms with a dress or polo shirt or a scrub top with dress slacks as well. We want you to be comfortable while maintaining a sense of professionalism. We want to be easily identified as professional massage therapists.

Contact Mary Elizabeth Le Blanc 405.924.2114 or melebla@cox.net if you would like to volunteer or have any questions. Thank you!

Oklahoma Government

Gubernatorial Appointments

Advisory Board on Massage Therapy

I would like to encourage our member and massage community to think about stepping out of their comfort zones and seriously consider applying for a Gubernatorial Appointment (appointments made by the Governor). The Advisory Board on Massage Therapy (ABMT) are individuals that made this choice and they are halfway through their terms. While there is something to be said for allowing for continuity, we also want to avoid stagnation. We want to make sure that those in these seats making up the ABMT continue to understand the needs of massage therapy's clientele and not try to governor on the understanding of what the Oklahoma State Board of Cosmetology and Barbering (OSBCB) sees as their duty to their agency, clientele and profession.

We need passionate individuals who understand that our efforts to regulate massage therapy are about public and community safety that will allow for the uplifting of massage therapy. We can protect our clients and communities while making sure the massage therapist's needs don't get lost in the shuffle.

The statute calls for a five member Advisory Board on Massage Therapy. The members of this board are to be made up of an Administrator from an accredited school that has a massage therapy program, three licensed massage therapists who have practiced in Oklahoma no less than three years, and a citizen. They are all appointed by the Governor and serve for a four year term.

The basic requirements of those who serve on this board are to attend board meetings. There are 6 regular meetings a year with the potential of 1, 2 or 3 special meetings being called to deal with tabled issues that can't wait for the next regular meeting. By late summer they call for committee volunteers made up of interested massage therapists to help with rewriting of the rules and, until OSBCB gets the language clarifications and other asks, the rewrite of the original bill. The rewrite of a statute is always a possibility if things change enough to warrant the need for it. There are four committees that meet twice during September and October. These committees are made up of two Advisory Board members, four OSBCB staff members, four volunteer massage therapists and Assistant Attorney General Grant Moak. This works in theory but issues come up and it is usually the massage therapists who don't show up for the meetings. Leaving the massage therapy community under represented.

To apply for an appointment please click on link provided below. Thank you!

Gubernatorial Appointment

ABMT Committee Report

Legislative Committee

I would like to be able to report on all the committees but I don't have time or inclination to be sitting on all four. The Legislative Committee had it's first meeting on 9/20/18 at 3:00 PM. We were tasked with discussing our options on how to work with the final draft of SB 1063 that died in session. I wish I was talented enough to put a link to a copy of the final draft. I have included a link to Bill Tracking Reports below. Search for SB 1063 it will bring up the history of SB 1063. You will need to click on Engrossed to bring up a copy of the final draft.

Here are the bullet points on our discussions.

  • Pages 8-9 Section 4200.4(C) Criminal History: Grant Moak, Assistant Attorney General, recommends separating out into different sections denial of license and discipline of licensee. We also looked at the criminal history criteria for establishment licenses located in Section 4200.5 1(D)(pages 14-15). The language in 4200.4 and 4200.5.1 should be consistent. In our discussion Grant Moak focused on lines 9-10 on page 9 specifically the time line of ten-year period. We concluded that the language in this section was awkward. Laura Embleton with abmp offered to provide Grant alternative language for criminal history in Section 4200.4(C), to be reviewed at our next meeting.

  • Page 9 Section 4200.4(D) Advisory Board: Grant Moak states some have proposed replacing the pubic member with an establishment licensee. Licensing Boards that make final decisions typically have a public member but advisory boards usually don't. Laura Embleton and myself were the only ones who continued to support that the Citizen seat remain as public. Laura Grisso, ABMT Chair, wanted clarification on why the AMTA put this in the original bill SB 687. I am not able to answer this so I am waiting for a statement from Government Relations Department at National. I see this as a issue since OSBCB doesn't have massage establishment licensing so the only licensed establishments would be cosmetology establishments. I explained to Grant Moak that I went back to the changes that Lyle Kelsey with the Medical Board suggested to the bill in 2015, he had 2 or 3 public members sitting on an advisory committee that was appointed by the Medical Board. When I researched all the advisory committees under the Medical Board they have 1, 2, or 3 public members on the committees. It depends on how large the committee is

  • Page 10 Section 4200.5. A. Grandfather Clause: We know that Legislators are getting calls and emails on this subject from their constituents so we are looking to open it up. An emergency clause would need to be initiated by the Legislature which would be a long shot. If a rewrite of the bill passes it will be September before it gets implemented. Some wanted a 2 year extension from date of implantation and some wanted just a 1 year, we compromised on 18 months. There is also discussion on an alternative route to licensure. Requests are being made by those who advocate for apprenticeships.

  • Page 21-22 Section 4200.10(C) regarding municipalities: In SB 687 we had no intention of doing away with a municipality to continue with licensing they had for other health professionals. This gave some Law Enforcement Agencies the opportunity to approach the sponsors of SB 1063 to rewrite this section to allow for restrictions on our hours of operation. This is one instance in which the cosmetologist sided with us. If they limit massage therapy hours they will have to limit cosmetology hours. We all were in agreement that this section needs to be eliminated. The Professional Conduct Committee that met before the Legislative Committee supports this action as well.

OSBCB and some of the Metro Law Enforcement Agencies are still focused on Human Trafficking being a massage therapy issue. It is not, it is a law enforcement issue period. If we give support to establishment licensing we are putting restrictions on our industry. The number one portal for Human Trafficking is the cosmetology world. Ms. Lewelling has shared this statement at the meetings since March 2018. There are maybe 12 states that have establishment licensing and AMTA doesn't support the efforts to license massage establishments. We are seeking to move the dialogue away from Human Trafficking and move it to the opioid epidemic that is plaguing our country. We are all touched by someone, directly or indirectly, who has been affected by the misuse of opioids. Please help your chapter and your profession by being proactive and staying as informed as you possibly can. Start by creating a dialogue with your fellow massage therapists that are meaningful and productive. If you have concerns come forward and express them with respect and solutions to solve them. Thank you!

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