Massage Therapy, Massage Parlors, and the Georgia Code
During the legislative effort this past year it was discovered that the municipalities which are trying to regulate inappropriate sex trade businesses, are grouping legitimate state licensed Massage Therapists under massage parlors based on the Georgia Code – Revenue and Taxation – Title 48, Section 48-13-9. The only profession descriptive for massage practitioners is currently Title 48-13-9, (b), (17) Massage parlors. This reference seems to be the source for all classifications of both licensed therapists and any other business (i.e. Spa’s, Hot tub establishments, etc.) offering massage. This became obvious in GR interactions with the Macon government agencies as they worked on their ordinances. The classification and labeling of legitimate and professional licensed Massage Therapists under “massage parlor” is tremendously degrading and offensive to practitioners and is blatantly confusing to local city and county agencies trying to properly classify legitimate from illegitimate businesses.
GR has made recent inquiries to the Secretary of State’s office as to why once Massage Therapists became regulated and licensed under Title 43-24A, that the profession (Licensed Massage Therapists) was not properly added to Title 48-13-9, (c)? Licensed massage Therapist should appear under 48-13-9, sub heading “(c) Examples of businesses and practitioners and occupations which local governments are not authorized to subject to regulatory fees include, but are expressly not limited to the following:”, where other professions under Title 43 - Professions and Businesses, are currently listed.
GR received the responses that this should have taken place once the massage law was passed, but as with many other professions this is often an oversight. GR also was informed that this change cannot be authored by the Secretary of State office or the Board of Massage, but must be a legislative action.
The change needed appears to be very simple and direct – to just add:
“( ) Massage Therapist licensed under Chapter 24 of Title 43:” to 48-13-9, (c). This will clarify the difference between massage therapy businesses and these parlors that need regulated. If licensed Massage Therapists are regulated and accountable to the state then they need to be treated equally with other healthcare professionals.
GR has initiated actions and has been in the process of contacting legislators to seek support for an amendment to Title 48 that would address this issue.