The North Carolina legislature is attempting to undermine the profession of massage. A number of bills have been introduced to create major changes in the profession. A pair of bills, one from each chamber, are attempting to add an “establishment owner” seat on the Board with no requirement that the new member be a massage therapist. Another bill is attempting to add TWO owner seats, while hiding under the title “Various OLB and Administration changes”. While several board have members that are not licensed, they are generally explicitly precluded from having any interest in the Board with very similar language, ie: “shall not be licensed under Chapter 90 of the General Statutes or the spouse of a person who is so licensed, or have any financial interest, directly or indirectly, in the profession regulated under this Article.” An establishment owner would of course have a vested financial interest. Moreover, unlike many other Boards, the positions on our Board are appointed by a political patron such as the Governor, President Pro-tem, Speaker of the House, or the like. Small establishment owners have neither the time nor the money to pursue these obviously political positions, which means this seat will be filled almost exclusively by a chain or franchise owner. This is NOT a way to protect either the public or the profession.
Another bill is proposed to eliminate all the changes created by the establishment license laws last year. While it got quite tense for a while, the Board eventually created a set of rules that offered protection to the public WITHOUT putting small businesses such as Essential Therapy at risk. It was not perfect, but the only people who truly and strongly objected to the rules that were sent to the Rules Review Commission for review before becoming law were owners of a certain large purple franchise. They sent 10 identical letters of objection, enough to trigger an automatic review by the legislative bodies. This bill is an attempt to strip those protections from the public before they become law. In Charlotte, we have an advantage. The sponsor for the bill comes from a Charlotte area district. Contact Senator Bishop at Dan.Bishop@ncleg.net or (919) 733-5655
(Confused about what these changes were meant to be? Start with THIS blog to get a review from last year!)
If you believe that your family and your therapist should be protected from the fallout of such obviously monetary motivations, please contact your representative (find them here) as soon as possible and voice your opinion. Voting in November may be too late.