Active Legislation Update
Dear AMTA-WA Members,
As you may know, the WAC rules have been up for consideration for the past several months, and the Massage Board and the Department of Health (DOH) have been holding hearings for public comment. Thank you to all of you that have been attending and saying your piece. They have been standing room only meetings and the feedback you have provided DOH has been thoughtful and sound.
At the last meeting, it became apparent that our input on one of the rules regarding transfer students was going nowhere and needed immediate action (thanks, Diana Thompson!). This is an incredibly important rule with National implications, that should allow massage therapists and students to move to WA and practice, and have their prior education count towards licensing requirements. Without this, everyone would have to retake all of their education in a WA approved school, regardless of whether the obtained credits from a college, university, or accredited massage school.
We called in the AMTA-WA lobbyists who got busy very quickly. Melanie Stewart, who has been with us for about 20 years, hired a rules expert that she often works with, Gail McGaffick, who worked her magic. Gail has been working closely with DOH, writing a bill we know they will support and can work with (very important for the success of implementing the law if the bill should pass). Here is the link to the bill.
This bill would make it easier for the WA Board of Massage to work with schools and transfer students.
SB 6399 app.leg.wa.gov/billinfo/summary.aspx?bill=6399&year=2015
HB 2781 app.leg.wa.gov/billinfo/summary.aspx?bill=2781&year=2015
This is a very expensive endeavor that is outside our usual legislative budget and we are grateful to the schools that have stepped in to help fund this initiative. We continue to look for additional funding because we believe this is a critical issue that directly impacts how “friendly” our state is in light of the AMTA National goal of portability. As a Chapter, we want to do what we can to support the goals the National organization has set forth to advance the profession. This legislation would help to do that.
Prior to this last minute bill (we were still hoping we could change it in the rules phase and not have to introduce legislation) we had another bill on our original agenda: to change our designation from Licensed Massage Practitioner to Licensed Massage Therapist. I am not sure why we never took this on before, but once Vice President Teri Mayo voiced the idea, we ran with it. (Thanks, Teri!)
Here is a link to this bill:
This bill would change LMP to LMT
HB 2425 app.leg.wa.gov/billinfo/summary.aspx?bill=2425&year=2015
SB 6181 app.leg.wa.gov/billinfo/summary.aspx?bill=6181&year=2015
Additionally her is Gail McGaffick’s summary: “Legislation to change massage practitioner and animal massage practitioner to massage therapist and animal massage therapist is requested because it aligns the name of the health care professional with the profession: massage therapy. It also makes the designation consistent with virtually all of the states that regulate massage.”
We will keep you informed as things go through the House and the Senate. Thanks for your support through membership. We would not be able to do any of this if we did not have your dues helping to pay for our lobbyist. Thank you!
Annie LaCroix, AMTA-WA President