The Florida State Massage Therapy Association (FSMTA) has issued an update on legislation that would allow massage-school graduates to practice massage under a temporary license before passing an entry-level exam.
This is the information provided by the FSMTA, published with the association’s permission:
In mid-December FSMTA sent an “Urgent Call To Action” to alert our fellow professionals that House Bill 49 had been filed by Representative Erik Fresen of Miami. The bill basically states that a person who graduates from a massage school could get a temporary license and begin working prior to passing the entry level exam that is now required. The FSMTA email communication requested everyone to contact their legislators voicing opposition and many of you sent letters, emails and phoned and we THANK YOU for that. Several leaders in our massage education community wrote letters explaining why this would not be in the best interest of the public. FSMTA sent letters of opposition to all legislators and Chapter Presidents across the State telephoned legislators at their district offices. AMTA-FL Chapter & the BOMT did the same. We were optimistic that a companion bill would not be put forward and that HB49 would die.
Much to our chagrin that was not the case and on January 25, 2011 Senate Bill 584 was filed by Senator Anitere Flores also from Miami. The content is identical and we are still in opposition.
FSMTA’s position remains the same. Passing HB49 and SB584 will have a negative impact on the massage therapy profession in Florida and undermine the Florida Board of Massage Therapy’s ability to effectively provide public protection through formal licensure.
Completing an educational program and passing a State Board-approved examination ensures the highest standards for an entry-level massage therapist.
We informed legislators that an applicant can take the test upon graduation (or before) and obtain the results as they complete the test. If the applicant sends in the Application and the Application Fees to the Board of Massage Therapy, they can be licensed in 2-4 weeks.
FSMTA believes that in order to maintain the integrity of current standards, fully protect the general public and prevent potential fraud, HB49 and SB584 should not be passed.
We will continue to keep you updated and ask that you be ready to voice your opposition again as this senate bill continues to move through various committees.