Planning and Development Committee

JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT

Bill No.:

HB-5455

Title:

AN ACT CONCERNING PENALTIES FOR AND THE INVESTIGATION OF THE OPERATION OF ILLEGAL MASSAGE ESTABLISHMENTS.

Vote Date:

3/19/2012

Vote Action:

Joint Favorable Substitute

PH Date:

3/16/2012

File No.:

SPONSORS OF BILL:

Planning and Development Committee

REASONS FOR BILL:

The reason for this bill is to add “shiatsu”, “acupressure” and “Thai massage” to the list of services that can not be advertised or completed without the proper license. Any employer who employs unlicensed individuals as massage therapists may receive a class C misdemeanor. This bill will also allow the Commissioner of Public Health and the local health department to investigate any massage complaints.


SUBSTITUTE LANGUAGE:

The substitute language for this bill adds “and no employer shall knowingly and willfully employ a person to engage in” to Section 1 (a) of this bill. Also in Section 1, (h) is added to say: Any person who “knowingly and willfully” employs a person who violates the provisions of subsection (a) or (e) of this section shall be guilty of a class C misdemeanor. In Section 2: (Thai yoga massage or Thai yoga) is added to parts (a), (b), and (d). Section 3 (b) says that identification now includes any ID with photo from a company contracted by the board to administer massage exams. They will also be able to identify by using a drivers license, federal government, or a municipal government ID with a photo. In line 121 the 30 day maximum time limit for after receiving information or a complaint to conduct a formal investigation is removed.

RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:

Jewel Mullen MD, MPH, MPS, Commissioner for State of Connecticut Department of Public Health: Mrs. Mullen opposes this bill because it will add unnecessary steps for disciplinary investigations, which will be difficult for the department to stretch their already limited resources. Mrs. Mullen also said that this is an unnecessary mandate.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:

Representative Linda Orange: Rep. Orange supports this bill and believes that the changes made in this bill should help clarify the oversight process and help prevent the degradation of the massage trade.

Joseph L. Gaudett, Jr., Chief of Police: Chief Gaudett supports this bill because it will give the Bridgeport Police Department the opportunity to enforce the law on massage establishments to make sure that they don't take part in illegal or inappropriate business practices. This bill will also improve the quality of life for the community.

Nicole RG Arel: Nicole fully supports House Bill 5455.

Joy Cline Cadwallader: Mrs. Cadwallader supports this bill because she wants these businesses to be regulated, monitored, or shut down if needed. Mrs. Cadwallader also spoke about how a massage parlor is taking part in illegal activities only 20 yards from the playground of her Kindergartner's school.

Joseph W. Ianniello, President, Black Rock NRZ: The Bridgeport Black Rock NRZ supports this bill and urges the passage of it. One of the major recommendations the Black Rock NRZ receives is to, “Eliminate Inappropriate Commercial Uses”, which will help revitalize Black Rock.

Joan Lindquist: Mrs. Lindquist urges the committee to pass this bill so the Commissioner of Public Health will have the power to uphold the law and get rid of the sexually oriented massage parlors.

Laura Pennock: Mrs. Pennock is in favor of this bill because she believes that we will not revitalize our cities if we don't make things right and lawful.

Christine Samuel: Mrs. Samuel is in full support of this bill. Mrs. Samuel says that this bill will “end this willful ignorance of illegal activity in our state, in our neighborhood, and on the blocks where we walk with visitors from other countries, states, towns, and most importantly where we walk our children”, and thanks this bill for empowering the Commissioner of Public Health to take action on behalf of the residents.

Stephanie Barnes: Mrs. Barnes fully supports this bill, and spoke about how she found several website that openly spoke about sexual services that took place in these “spas”.

Captain Brian McCarthy, West Compound, Bridgeport Police Station: Captain McCarthy fully supports and urges the passage of this bill. Captain McCarthy talked about how it will give all municipalities the ability to better regulate and enforce the rules that will over see the spas.

Donald Greenberg, Associate Professor of Politics, Fairfield University: Mr. Greenberg spoke about how currently it appears as if the government is turning a blind to prostitution. Mr. Greenberg urges the passage of this bill.

Rich Haesche, Bodymind Center for Thai Massage: Mr. Haesche supports this bill but also would like to see the terms: “THAI YOGA' and “THAI YOGA MASSAGE” added to this bill.

Joseph and Marina Kiernan: The Kiernan's support this bill because it helps the residents revitalize the city and will give the local Health Department the support they need to help clean up the city.

Fran Ray: Fran supports this bill but would like to see the term “THAI YOGA MASSAGE” in place of “THAI MASSAGE”, which will clarify “THAI YOGA” as a massage.

Deby Van Ohlen, Nurturing Hands, LLC: Deby supports this bill but would like to see the following changes: “listing the employer as well as the practitioner; including shiatsu, acupressure and Thai massage in the definition of massage; legislating actions in case of violations and to investigate probable violations”, which will all strengthen this bill.

Scott Raymond, American Massage Therapy Association: Mr. Raymond supports this bill because it will protect public safety both physically and ethically. It will also empower the Department of Public Health to put a stop to illegal individuals obtaining licenses and stop unlicensed individuals from practicing in CT.

Maxine D Greenberg, MSW, LCSW: Mrs. Greenberg urged the committee to support the passage of HB5455. Mrs. Greenberg also said how the sexually oriented businesses make statements about their properties as a city.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:

See RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION

Reported by: Craig Cubellotti

Date: April 2, 2012