Article City Forum Kirstin Kolpitcke

New Law Strengthens Local Regulation of Massage Businesses

Kirstin Kolpitcke is a legislative representative for the League and can be reached at

AB 1147 (Bonilla, Chapter 406, Statutes of 2014) went into effect on Jan. 1, 2015. This legislation returned to California cities and counties the authority to adopt ordinances related to the massage therapy industry through a combination of land-use and business regulations.

Local governments regained their authority to regulate the business of massage, and a nonprofit organization remains responsible for overseeing the voluntary certification of massage professionals statewide. The duties of the California Massage Therapy Council (CAMTC) include:

  • Issuing certificates to individual applicants;
  • Disciplining certified massage professionals for violating the requirements of AB 1147;
  • Establishing fees related to the cost of providing services;
  • Protecting the public; and
  • Verifying the legitimacy of massage schools.

State law originally authorized up to 20 people on the CAMTC Board of Directors at any given time — with some board members specified by statute, and others could be added through CAMTC’s bylaws by appointment.

AB 1147 changed the composition of the CAMTC board. On Sept. 15, 2015, the CAMTC Board of Directors will reconvene, and the four-year terms of 13 new members will begin. The newly configured board will include one member appointed by each of the following organizations, agencies and groups:

  1. The League;
  2. The California Police Chiefs Association;
  3. The California State Association of Counties;
  4. CAMTC, which will appoint a representative from an anti-human trafficking organization;
  5. The California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office;
  6. The director of the Department of Consumer Affairs, who will appoint one member of the public;
  7. The California Association of Private Postsecondary Schools;
  8. The American Massage Therapy Association, California Chapter. This person must be a California-certified massage therapist and California resident who has been practicing for at least three years;
  9. CAMTC, which will also appoint a public health official representing a city, county, city and county, or state health department; and
  10. A professional massage entity, which must have a dues-paying membership in California of at least 1,000 individuals, have been established since 2000 and have bylaws that require its members to comply with a code of ethics. This entity will appoint a certified massage therapist or massage practitioner who is a California resident and has practiced massage for at least three years prior to the appointment.

Each of these organizations and agencies may choose not to exercise its right to appoint a member to the CAMTC board.

The board will also appoint three additional members:

  • An attorney licensed by the State Bar of California, who has been practicing for at least three years and at the time of appointment represents a city in the state;
  • A massage business entity that has been operating in the state for at least three years; and
  • An individual with knowledge of the massage industry or who can bring a needed expertise to the operation of the council.

The League supported the change to CAMTC’s board in an effort to promote and educate the council on a more diverse set of interests.

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Photo credit: Brandon Bourdages/

This article appears in the March 2015 issue of Western City
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