Since 2000, MNHLRP has worked with legislators regarding legislation:
We have continued to oppose licensure or registration for massage therapists. In the 2014 session, a bill calling for "voluntary" registration for massage therapist gained traction in the senate. Authored by Senator John Hoffman, SF 1925 passed through the Senate Health Committee and a number of other committees and is ehading for includion in the Senate omnibus licensure bill. We have opposed SF 1792 because the practice of massage therapy is very safe and gentle and does not require a higher degree of regulation than what already exists. Massage therapy is already adequately regulated under the statute known as Chapter 146A, Minnesota's Safe Harbor Exemption Law. This statute, enacted in year 2000, carves out a freedom to practice for the unlicensed health care practitioners in Minnesota as long as they stay within certain limits (e.g. do not engage in prescribing drugs or practicing dentistry, etc) and provide a disclosure form to their clients. In our view, the registration bill, SF 1792, will create winners and losers, strengthen the position of massage therapy schools because of its educational requirements, and force some massage therapists out of the field. We view SF 1792 as special interest legislation and not in the public interest.
A group known as MICA proposed legislation that allows licensed health care practitioners in Minnesota to make referrals to unlicensed health care practitioners who are practricing under the provisions of the MN Statute 146A. MNHLRP finds this concept acceptable but other provisions of the bill raised concersn. The bill in questions received hearings only in the Senate were it was authored as SF 1642, by Senator Chris Eaton. The provisions that conerned us required that the a licensed health care practitioner would have to provide a patient "bill of rights," much like 164A requires, in order to do any health care practice that would overlap with what 146A practitioners may do - homeopathy, herbalism, massage therapy, and numerous other things. This provision of SF 1642 would be onerous and a step backwards for the freedom of the licensed practitioners who, arguably, already have the freedom to do these safe and gentle things. Fortunately, this concern was largely addressed when the advocates for this bill, MICA's board of directors, agreed to an amendment that largely nullifies the onerous requirement; the amendment says that the licensed practitioner does not have to provide a patient bill of rights as long as the licensed practitioner is "practicing within the standard of care," for his/her profession. On March 26, 2014, hearing in the Senate Health Committee, Senator Easton accepted this amendment and MNHLRP's president, Leo Cashman, testified that we no longer object to the passage of SF 1642. However, since the companion bill in the house was never heard, it may be that the bill will not be included in any conference committee bill and it may well be dead for this session.