MLN Vol.2.No.4

Massage Law Newsletter

Vol. 2, No. 4                                                 I SSN 1073-5461                                                   December 1997



Albert Schatz, Ph.D

"Let Senate Bill 1171 "Rest in peace." The death of previous bills introduced to regulate massage has not been detrimental to Pennsylvania in any way. We don't need the present Senate Bill 1171 to regulate massage any more than we needed the previous bills to regulate massage.

Senate Bill 1171 would add an unnecessary regulatory agency to a
bloated  state bureaucracy.

Pennsylvania already has a bloated state bureaucracy
. "During the decade of the 1980s ... new government entities have been created at a surprising rate ... Pennsylvania's Joint State Government Commission recognized the creation of 83 new authorities, boards, commissions, committees, and departments. These bodies frequently became bastions for special interests, and appointments to them often are made to repay political favors."1

Pe"nnsylvania [also] has one of the fastest growing budgets among the states since 1991."1

The Pennsylvania legislature would serve the public more advantageously by restoring the Sunset law
, which lapsed in 1991, than by devoting time to Senate Bill 1171. "Limiting the number of occupational groups which are licensed or have a board monitoring them allows the government to spend less time dealing with unnecessary or irrelevant boards."1

The Pennsylvania legislature should consider DEREGULATION with which other states are now concerned. The Governor of Georgia wants to deregulate professions and skills for which there have been few if any complaints for the past several years. (See the Editorial in the February 10, 1997, issue of the Athens [Georgia] Daily News). Other states also want to deregulate. (See the San Luis Obispo Telegram-Tribune report, based on an Associated Press story released July 9, 1997)

Senate Bill 1171 was promoted by the Pennsylvania Licensure Coalition allegedly to protect the Senatepublic from harm. According to PALC:

1. "Licensure is first an to protect the public from harm."
2. "We [PALC] are working to create a bill which protects the public from harm."
3. "State licensing will ... create educational requirements for that public protection."
Why has PALC never provided any convincing evidence that the public is being harmed by massage, despite repeated requests for that information?


               MORE PEOPLE ARE KILLED BY    

According to Actual Facts, published by the National Safety Council in 1994: 75 people were killed by lightning in the United States in 1989: 89 were killed in 1990, and 75 were killed in 1991. "Glen Pierce of Northeastern University's Center of Applied Science calculated that the risk of a white woman being struck by lightning in Massachusetts is one in 4,000,000.2

The Pennsylvania Senate Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure should insist that PALC provide information about how many people have been harmed by massage, how serious the injuries have been, and whether the injuries were indeed caused by massage therapists.

To determine whether consumer protection is needed, a Committee on Consumer Protection has to know whether there is any harm from which consumers need to be protected. If there's no harm, there's no need for consumer protection.

The Pennsylvania Senate Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure should apply the Sunrise Process to Senate Bill 1171. The Sunrise Process requires that those who promote bills ( to regulate professions to allegedly protect the public from harm) must provide convincing evidence that:

1. "The unlicensed profession is a serious danger to the public health and safety."

2. "State licensing will adequately protect the public health and safety."

3. "No other means can also protect the public health and safety."

State legislators should do their homework in order to effectively serve the public. This means they should familiarize themselves with Sunrise legislation which 18 states now have. To do this, all they have to do is read:

1. the Commonwealth Foundation's publication Sunrise Legislation - a New Curb on Bureaucracy.1

2. the Regulatory Request Questionnaire in Rule 22 of the California Senate [Legislature's] Committee on Business and Professions, and

3. the California state's Government Code Sections 9148 et seq which concerns how the legislature should evaluate the need for new professional licensure.

If Pennsylvania had a Sunrise Process, Senate Bill 1171 would not exist. Senate Bill 1171 is therefore an example par excellence of why Pennsylvania needs a Sunrise Process.

Senate Bill 1171 would create an unnecessary state-sanctioned monopoly

1. It seems that proponents of licensing are hopeful that a state license would mean more money, status, and power.3 - Jerry A. Green, Attorney for the California Coalition on Somatic Practices

2. I think the move toward licensure is regrettable. I believe licensing creates state-sanctioned monopolies ..with the explicit goal of 'protecting the public,' but with the real effect of protecting those who hold the monopolies' respective entitlements, reducing information to the public, and restricting competition.4 - Dr. Don Schwartz, Executive Director of the Trager Institute

The Pennsylvania legislature should not create an unnecessary state-sanctioned monopoly.


There is no research which provides convincing evidence that state regulation of massage is an effective means of controlling prostitution.5 Laws on prostitution, which apply to all women,donot effectively control prostitution. How can state regulation of massage control prostitution when it applies to only a minuscule percent of women?


Verbum satis sapienti. - A word to the wise is sufficien

If the argument is that we are too ignorant to judge good practitioners, all that is needed is to make the relevant information available. If, in full knowledge, we still want to go to someone who is not certified, that is our business. - Milton Freedman6

Licensing arrangements ...can be characterized less as methods for protecting the public and for providing external social control in the interest of the consumer than as a means for protecting the occupation's market dominance. Indeed, licensing has the unique quality of making a violation of the professional monopoly a punishable crime. - Haug6

The great truth is never spoken directly, but anybody in that field with two bourbons in them will tell you that these boards work primarily to protect the practitioners and have little or nothing to do with protecting the public. - Former Virginia state official6

A rigid requirement, one that completely ignores the qualitative aspects of the individual's experience, appears to be more concerned with excluding 'outsiders', no matter how qualified, than with assuring consumers that 1icensed individuals are safe and effective practitioners. - Shimberg6

When the right to practice a trade or profession depends not on personal initiative but also on the approval of some agency, ...the industry has laid the foundation for the exercise of monopoly power. No longer may anyone perform legal, medical accounting architectural or other tasks." (We add "massage" here.) "The first condition for a competitive society - freedom of entry - is gone. - J. K. Lieberman6

In an advanced society, important inequalities of knowledge and technical understanding multiply. Every citizen is incompetent in many areas... It does not follow that rule by experts is an intelligent response to the new inequalities. It is still wise to trust the ordinary wisdom of plain human beings on juries, in the voting booth, in the development of public dialogue, and in the ordinary decencies of daily living. So also, it would seem, a wise society trusts individuals to spend their hard-earned dollars as they judge best. - Miscall Nova6

There are many laws in the United States that discriminate against the employment and advancement of people who are outsiders, latecomers, and poor in resources, It is important to point out that these laws or rules discriminate against certain people irrespective of race. However, because of their history in the U.S., blacks are disproportionately represented in the class of people described as outsiders, latecomers, and resourceless. - Walter Williams6

     1. Greenwalt, II, Charles E. Issue Brief. Sunrise Legislation - a New Curb on Bureaucracy.
February 1993. The Commonwealth Foundation for Public Policy Alternatives. 600 North
Second Street. Suite 300. Harrisburg, PA 171791-1032.
     2. Sklar. H. Chaos or Community. Seeking Solutions, Not Scapegoats for Bad Economics.
South End Press. Boston. 1995.
     3.  Green, J.A. Money, status & power: by licensure or affiliation. The Rub 1(1):4, June 1996.
(The Rub is a newsletter published by Rob Mullog Enterprises. P.O. Box 459. Berkeley, CA 94701.)
     4. Schwartz, D. The tragedy of skilled touch and movement in the United States. Guest
Editorial. Massage Magazine. Issue No. 64. November/December 1996.
     5. Schatz, A. Prostitution and massage. Journal of Spiritual Bodywork. Special Issue No. 2. 1997.
     6. Young, S. D. The Rule of Experts: Occupational Licensing in America.  Cato Institute.
Washington, D.C. 1987.
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