We are happy to report that our presence at the Burnsville City Council meeting last week had a very positive influence. We had several members who practice massage therapy in Burnsville attend, in addition to AMTA Chapter President Jason Erickson.
As stated in last week’s post, Burnsville has proposed to increase annual licensing fees for massage therapy businesses from $100 to $300. The additional charge would be used to cover business investigations.
We were supported at last week’s meeting by representatives of Keep In Touch Massage, Massage Envy, a spa, a chiropractic office, and several smaller practices. Together, we helped the city council understand the potential impact of the proposed fee increase, and suggested alternative solutions.
The city council welcomed our input and loved the solutions we put forward. Everyone present was satisfied with the outcome of the meeting and the details of the implementation will be worked out by the city council before their next meeting on this topic.
Following the meeting, the Burnsville Police Department representative (who only observed the discussion) spoke with our Chapter President and welcomed input on how to address some of the challenges of enforcing existing laws.
It was gratifying to have several Burnsville City Council members, including the Mayor, strongly support legitimate massage therapy and cite their own experiences using massage therapy. In a meeting last month, the Burnsville City Council voted to support the establishment of statewide massage therapy regulations. Like many other cities, they are in favor of our legislative efforts.
We look forward to hearing the Burnsville City Council’s final decision on this topic next week. We will post another update once we know that decision.
UPDATE: Nov. 30, 2015
At the second meeting, Nov. 24, the Burnsville Chief of Police spoke to the council about the role law enforcement plays in thoroughly running background checks. He had spent time reviewing the services suggested at the previous meeting, and concluded that many 3rd party companies provide acceptable background checks for massage establishments to use for clearing potential employees but the information obtained is mostly public record. He informed the council that a proper police run background check would also include records that were not yet publicly available, such as cases currently in process of litigation. The council then discussed additional law enforcement perspective involving background checks and their importance in providing the ability to enforce illegal activity. Although the council was willing to compromise fees they made the decision to leave background checks to the discretion of law enforcement.
Upon discussion of additional information, Burnsville council approved the following increases to be enacted January 2016 along with the entire city planning budget:
Annual Enterprise License Fee- $200 (includes 1 therapist)*
Annual Individual License Fee- $75
Initial Enterprise License Fee- $300 (includes 1 therapist)
Initial Individual License Fee- $200
**Anyone providing an approved 3rd party background check will qualify for a $100 reduction to initial license fees at the discretion of law enforcement.
Therefore, for current establishments and individuals they will pay the increased fees at the time of their annual renewal sometime in June 2016.
*Note: Sole proprietors will still be required to file as establishments but they will be covered under the 1 therapist heading that is included with those licenses. Formerly they were required to pay both the establishment and individual licensing fees.
Only employees of another establishment are considered individuals. Individuals will hold their own personal license and it will be up to their employers to check the validity with the city.
For new establishments and individuals they will be required to pay the initial fees outlined above at the time of application. Once background checks are cleared and the license is approved they will then pay the prorated annual fee. The background check discount only applies to new licenses.
Lastly, below you will find the official City of Burnsville Legislative Position on Massage Therapy Licensure and Regulation:
Massage Therapy Establishments – The City of Burnsville supports statewide professional licensure and regulation for practice of massage therapy. The City supports professional licensure and massage therapy establishment regulations that:
• establish legitimacy of providers by instituting a minimum level of competency to safely practice massage therapy; protect the public through establishment of professional standards that are backed by a professional code of ethics;
• improve practitioner compliance with Minn. Stat. Ch. 146A;
• allow cities to prosecute violations;
• prevent individuals from conducting criminal activities out of establishments operating as massage therapy facilities;
• protect the public from injury and from other conditions that may result in harm; and
• enhance public safety through enforcement actions against non-compliant practitioners.
Professional state licensure and regulations addressing the above criteria will aid local law enforcement efforts to protect the public and control prostitution and other criminal activity. The city opposes legislation that would prevent cities to effectively regulate massage therapy establishments. (Eric Gieseke, Jenni Faulkner)