Legislature(2017 - 2018)BARNES 124

02/15/2017 03:15 PM LABOR & COMMERCE

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Audio Topic
03:17:57 PM Start
03:18:09 PM HB110
04:18:30 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
*+ HB 110 MASSAGE THERAPY LICENSING; EXEMPTIONS TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
          HOUSE LABOR AND COMMERCE STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                         
                       February 15, 2017                                                                                        
                           3:17 p.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Sam Kito, Chair                                                                                                  
Representative Adam Wool, Vice Chair                                                                                            
Representative Andy Josephson                                                                                                   
Representative Louise Stutes                                                                                                    
Representative Chris Birch                                                                                                      
Representative Gary Knopp                                                                                                       
Representative Colleen Sullivan-Leonard                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Representative Mike Chenault (alternate)                                                                                        
Representative Bryce Edgmon (alternate)                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 110                                                                                                              
"An Act relating to the practice of massage therapy; relating to                                                                
the Board of Massage Therapists; and providing for an effective                                                                 
date."                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 110                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: MASSAGE THERAPY LICENSING; EXEMPTIONS                                                                              
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) KITO                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
02/08/17       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/08/17       (H)       L&C, FIN                                                                                               
02/15/17       (H)       L&C AT 3:15 PM BARNES 124                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
DAVID EDWARDS-SMITH, Chair                                                                                                      
Alaska Board of Massage Therapists                                                                                              
Soldotna, Alaska                                                                                                                
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 110.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
ANGELA BIRT, Chief Investigator                                                                                                 
Division  of Corporations,  Business, and  Professional Licensing                                                               
(DCBPL)                                                                                                                         
Department of Commerce, Community & Economic Development (DCCED)                                                                
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Answered questions on HB 110.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CRYSTAL KOENEMAN, Staff                                                                                                         
Representative Sam Kito                                                                                                         
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION   STATEMENT:      Presented   HB  110   on   behalf   of                                                             
Representative Kito, prime sponsor.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
3:17:57 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SAM KITO  called  the House  Labor  and Commerce  Standing                                                             
Committee  meeting  to  order  at   3:17  p.m.    Representatives                                                               
Josephson, Stutes, Birch, Knopp,  Sullivan-Leonard, and Kito were                                                               
present at  the call  to order.   Representative Wool  arrived as                                                               
the meeting was in progress.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
          HB 110-MASSAGE THERAPY LICENSING; EXEMPTIONS                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
3:18:09 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR KITO  announced that  the only order  of business  would be                                                               
HOUSE BILL NO.  110, "An Act relating to the  practice of massage                                                               
therapy;  relating  to  the  Board  of  Massage  Therapists;  and                                                               
providing for an effective date."                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
3:19:28 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CRYSTAL KOENEMAN,  Staff, Representative  Sam Kito,  Alaska State                                                               
Legislature, presented  HB 110 on behalf  of Representative Kito,                                                               
prime sponsor.   She  stated that the  bill language  was brought                                                               
forward  by the  Board  of Massage  Therapists,  which felt  that                                                               
there were  some loopholes that needed  to be tightened up.   The                                                               
board was established  in 2014 and has since  discussed the issue                                                               
in many board meetings.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MS. KOENEMAN  expressed that  HB 110  would do  many things.   It                                                               
would  allow the  board to  adopt  regulations governing  massage                                                               
therapy establishments.   The bill  would increase the  number of                                                               
hours required  for in-class supervised instruction  and clinical                                                               
work  from an  approved massage  school  from 500  to 625  hours,                                                               
following  closer to  national  standards.   She  noted that  all                                                               
massage therapy schools in Alaska  currently provide 750 hours or                                                               
more.   The bill  would reduce  the required  number of  hours of                                                               
safety education on blood-borne pathogens  from four hours to two                                                               
hours; the  courses are  two hours long,  so most  licensees have                                                               
been taking the  same course twice to meet the  requirement.  She                                                               
explained that HB  110 would allow the board  to issue exemptions                                                               
from   licensing   requirements   for  people   who   submit   an                                                               
application, pay a  registration fee, and submit  proof that they                                                               
meet the requirements  for the exemptions.   The exemptions would                                                               
be valid  for up to  ten years or  until the licensee's  scope of                                                               
practice has changed.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS. KOENEMAN  referred to AS  08.61.080, which  lists exceptions.                                                               
She stated that HB 110 would  remove paragraphs 7, 10, 11, and 13                                                               
from AS  08.61.080 and insert  the paragraphs into  new statutory                                                               
language, which would require registration.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
3:23:10 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   STUTES  asked   whether   the  requirements   in                                                               
paragraphs  7,  10,  11,  and  13 in  current  statute  would  be                                                               
exempted in the bill.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
3:23:33 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. KOENEMAN  explained that current  statue sets  out exceptions                                                               
which are not  governed under massage therapy  statutes.  Section                                                               
3 of HB  110 outlines that those exceptions would  be required to                                                               
register  with  the  department  but would  not  be  governed  or                                                               
regulated by the board.  She  noted that the groups listed in the                                                               
exemptions, such as Rolfers or  structural integrators, would not                                                               
need  meet licensing  requirements.   The  board  would not  have                                                               
oversight of the professions, but  the groups would register with                                                               
a  nominal fee  to have  their name  and business  included in  a                                                               
database.  She  explained that registering the  groups would help                                                               
the  investigative   team  with   the  Department   of  Commerce,                                                               
Community &  Economic Development  (DCCED) and Federal  Bureau of                                                               
Investigations  (FBI)   to  determine  whether   individuals  are                                                               
licensed  or  unlicensed.    She  stated  that  concerns  of  sex                                                               
trafficking and human trafficking have led to HB 110.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
3:25:38 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BIRCH asked how many Rolfers are involved.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
3:25:54 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR KITO  stated that there  isn't a state  database collecting                                                               
data  for Rolfers  - they  are exempt  from statutory  oversight.                                                               
Therefore,  the  number  of  Rolfers   eligible  to  register  is                                                               
undetermined.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BIRCH asked, "Is a  driver on this because there's                                                               
illegal sex  trafficking going on,  as opposed to ...  people out                                                               
there getting  ... Rolfed  legitimately that  haven't paid  a ...                                                               
registration fee?"                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR KITO informed that the  board chair can better explain what                                                               
the  changes are.    He stated  that Rolfing  is  one of  several                                                               
exceptions currently in statute  that would be reclassified under                                                               
HB 110.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BIRCH asked whether  Rolfing would be incorporated                                                               
and would require a permit.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  KITO explained  that the  exceptions currently  in statute                                                               
include  13  individual  types of  practices,  several  of  which                                                               
include  applying  pressure by  hand,  and  those exceptions  are                                                               
being  removed and  reclassified as  exemptions.   The exemptions                                                               
would  require a  practitioner  to  provide registration  stating                                                               
what type  of manipulation he/she  practices and the  location of                                                               
the business.  He stated that  a registration fee would help take                                                               
care  of  the  paperwork  for   filing  the  applications.    The                                                               
registered individuals  would still not be  licensed under Alaska                                                               
statute,  but  their  businesses   would  exist  in  a  database,                                                               
allowing  investigators to  know  who has  been  registered as  a                                                               
legitimate practitioner.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
3:28:39 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  BIRCH asked  if the  Board of  Massage Therapists                                                               
asked the  sponsor for  legislation to  expand the  definition of                                                               
massage to include Rolfing and other practices.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR KITO answered yes.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
3:29:05 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  JOSEPHSON asked  Ms. Koeneman  who is  asking for                                                               
the legislation.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
3:29:16 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  KOENEMAN responded  the Board  of Massage  Therapists.   She                                                               
remarked, "They  approached us and  had requested ...  changes to                                                               
their statutes."                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JOSEPHSON  asked whether the board  said it wanted                                                               
changes that  would impact massage therapists  and wanted Rolfers                                                               
to be registered.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MS. KOENEMAN  stated the  changes were  discussed in  the board's                                                               
public meetings.   The board  determined that the language  of HB                                                               
110 gives  investigators the  tools necessary  to do  more timely                                                               
investigations.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  JOSEPHSON asked  what the  board's motivation  is                                                               
for  changing   the  Rolfers'   statutory  classification.     He                                                               
remarked, "Are  they afraid that  the sex traffickers  are really                                                               
not them, but the Rolfers, and  so they're to divert attention to                                                               
the Rolfers?"                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
3:30:47 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR KITO stated the question  might be more appropriate for the                                                               
chair of the Board of Massage Therapists.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
3:30:57 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KNOPP  mentioned that  when  people  try to  sell                                                               
something  they freely  throw out  disparaging  accusations.   He                                                               
stated  that the  board is  recommending  something and  concerns                                                               
about sex  trafficking, prostitution, and human  trafficking have                                                               
been mentioned.   He cautioned  that evidence should  be provided                                                               
before disparaging a profession.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MS. KOENEMAN  stated that  she does not  intend to  disparage any                                                               
profession.     She   remarked,  "There   are  concerns   of  sex                                                               
trafficking,  and  whether they  are  from  these professions  or                                                               
somebody else that lays hands on  others, it's a way of having an                                                               
idea of  who is authorized and  who is registered with  the state                                                               
to practice  something in this  scope."  She reiterated  that she                                                               
does not want to disparage the profession in any way.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
3:32:53 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WOOL  stated his  understanding that  the proposed                                                               
legislation allows Rolfers and other  modalities to register in a                                                               
database but  not necessarily  be a licensed  member of  a board.                                                               
He  asked  whether a  Rolfer  with  a  statutory exemption  is  a                                                               
licensed practitioner  but does not  have to meet  the additional                                                               
requirements.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS.  KOENEMAN answered,  "With the  way the  current statute  is,                                                               
it's  almost  like they  don't  exist  in  the world  of  massage                                                               
therapy."  She  stated that  there  is  no  way  to know  who  is                                                               
practicing  and  there   is  no  oversight.     In  statute,  the                                                               
professions don't fall under massage  therapy, therefore there is                                                               
no oversight from any state department at any level.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
3:34:36 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WOOL  commented that  with the  current exception,                                                               
Rolfers  could merely  "hang a  sign  on the  door" and  practice                                                               
without any  professional oversight, although there  is oversight                                                               
for massage therapy.  He stated that  a component of HB 110 is to                                                               
combat sex  trafficking; and  under the  bill, anyone  who states                                                               
that they practice massage must prove they are licensed.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MS. KOENEMAN stated that if anyone  hangs a sign saying he/she is                                                               
a  massage  therapist and  practices,  he/she  would need  to  be                                                               
registered and  licensed.   There are  provisions in  statute for                                                               
unlicensed activity  which lead to investigations  and penalties.                                                               
Currently, Rolfers  can practice Rolfing with  a business license                                                               
and no  other registration.   The board  does not  currently have                                                               
the    ability   to    adopt   regulations    governing   massage                                                               
establishments,  which  is  where  there   are  concerns  of  sex                                                               
trafficking and human trafficking.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
3:36:59 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  KITO  stated  that  current statute  does  not  allow  the                                                               
ability to track  Rolfing.  Anyone under  the existing exceptions                                                               
can  practice without  the board's  knowledge or  oversight.   He                                                               
explained that there  is an interest in providing  the ability to                                                               
register activities  and addresses  of some modalities,  but they                                                               
would not be overseen, tracked, or licensed.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WOOL  noted that  HB 110 would  provide exemptions                                                               
to non-massage  modalities but they  would have to register.   He                                                               
asked if  such businesses could  practice without  the exemption.                                                               
He  remarked, "They're  not a  licensed  practitioner of  massage                                                               
therapy;  they  practice another  modality;  they  don't wish  to                                                               
apply for an exemption; they're  non-registered; they just have a                                                               
shingle..."                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR KITO deemed that the  department can better answer how they                                                               
would enforce the statute.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
3:38:47 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE STUTES asked if any  fees are currently charged to                                                               
the other modalities.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
3:38:57 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  KOENEMAN answered  no.   The only  established fees  are for                                                               
massage therapy.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE STUTES  asked if  HB 110  would implement  fees to                                                               
the other modalities with registration.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MS. KOENEMAN  responded that there would  be nominal registration                                                               
fees,  but not  licensing  fees like  those  associated with  the                                                               
massage therapists.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  STUTES asked  if the  fees are  indicated in  the                                                               
bill.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS. KOENEMAN  drew attention to HB  110, section 4, lines  12 and                                                               
13, which  would allow the  department to set fees  for exemption                                                               
applications and renewals.   She stated that the  fee is separate                                                               
from the license for massage  therapists; it is an additional fee                                                               
that the department would be authorized to establish.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
3:40:25 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BIRCH stated  that HB 110 would  broaden the reach                                                               
[of government] in a  time of a $3 billion deficit.   He said the                                                               
stacks of  communication the  committee has  received are  a good                                                               
indication  that the  non-massage world  has operated  fine.   He                                                               
asked,  "Do we  really need  to be  pushing out  into this?"   He                                                               
noted that the  bill is likely not a  revenue opportunity without                                                               
knowing how  many people the  bill would  affect.  He  stated his                                                               
concern that this bill would require a fair amount of time.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR KITO stated  that HB 110 has no additional  cost.  He noted                                                               
that the bill has not been  fully presented.  He urged members to                                                               
refrain  from making  final  conclusions on  the  bill until  all                                                               
information has been presented.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
3:42:02 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   JOSEPHSON  asked   if   there   is  a   national                                                               
organization that collects  information on structural integration                                                               
specialists.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. KOENEMAN offered  her understanding that there  is a national                                                               
organization of Rolfers.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JOSEPHSON  asked if the  impetus for the  bill was                                                               
to have a registry to  separate the "true" structural integration                                                               
specialists  from the  not truly  trained person.   He  asked why                                                               
there wasn't a separate bill  to register other "laying on hands"                                                               
individuals.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  KOENEMAN  responded   that  in  the  past   there  has  been                                                               
discussion   of  Rolfers   creating   their  own   board.     The                                                               
conversations which  established [the  Board of  Massage Therapy]                                                               
included discussions  of whether or  not to include Rolfers.   In                                                               
many  other  states, other  modalities  are  included in  massage                                                               
therapy statutes.  She noted that  it's not uncommon for a person                                                               
to be  licensed as both  a massage  therapist and a  Rolfer since                                                               
they are  similar professions.   She stated that the  board chair                                                               
can better speak to the impetus for HB 110.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
3:44:20 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KNOPP asked if  [the non-massage modalities] would                                                               
be  subject to  investigation  if they  were  registered but  not                                                               
regulated.  He  commented that businesses are required  to have a                                                               
business license  in order to  "hang the  shingle."  He  asked if                                                               
registration could be done through the licensing process.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS.    KOENEMAN   deferred    the   first    question   regarding                                                               
investigations  to the  department.   Responding to  the question                                                               
regarding  business  licenses,  she said  that  when  individuals                                                               
apply  for a  business license,  they get  to choose  their North                                                               
American Industry  Classification System  (NAICS) code.   Sorting                                                               
through  the   many  business  licenses  creates   a  burden  for                                                               
investigators.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
3:46:21 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SULLIVAN-LEONARD  asked if  different  modalities                                                               
are  under one  distinction in  the Lower  48 and  where that  is                                                               
happening.   She  noted  that Rolfers  must  go through  distinct                                                               
training to be  certified, and they put a lot  of time and energy                                                               
into their craft.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MS. KOENEMAN stated  that she is working on compiling  a list and                                                               
will share it with the committee upon completion.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
3:48:07 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DAVID EDWARDS-SMITH,  Chair, Alaska Board of  Massage Therapists,                                                               
testified in  support of HB 110.   He stated that  in February of                                                               
2015,  the  Alaska Board  of  Massage  Therapists had  its  first                                                               
meeting.   The board  took seriously the  advisement of  Dr. Sara                                                               
Chambers to  discuss the  process of  reviewing the  statutes and                                                               
determining the best  way to instill refinement in  the new laws.                                                               
He  expressed that  the board  felt  it was  necessary to  refine                                                               
statute   by   addressing   massage   establishments,   licensing                                                               
exemptions,     entry-level    education     requirements,    and                                                               
inconsistencies  with   the  standards  in   blood-born  pathogen                                                               
education.  He  said that the board's establishment has  led to a                                                               
better understanding of ways to serve Alaskans.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR. EDWARDS-SMITH stated that the  board is aware of exploitation                                                               
of the massage  therapy profession for illegal  practice of human                                                               
and  sex trafficking,  which is  prevalent throughout  the United                                                               
States.    He  cautioned  that   the  problem  will  continue  if                                                               
institutions of  law enforcement  are not permitted  the critical                                                               
tools to  addressing the  issue.   In 2015,  state investigations                                                               
and  the FBI  identified 29  illicit establishments  in Anchorage                                                               
and up to 130 throughout Alaska.   He noted that several agencies                                                               
have communicated  their concern  on the issue  of human  and sex                                                               
trafficking  at  board meetings.    The  agencies include:    the                                                               
Alaska  Wage and  Hour  [Administration], DCBPL's  Investigations                                                               
Unit,  the  FBI, and  the  Federation  of State  Massage  Therapy                                                               
Boards.   The  board determined  through research  and discussion                                                               
that it  was necessary for the  protection of the public  to work                                                               
to provide law enforcement agencies  to the tools to address this                                                               
issue.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR.  EDWARDS-SMITH stated  that requiring  massage establishments                                                               
to  register   would  enable  state  and   federal  investigation                                                               
agencies to  hold the owner  of an establishment  accountable for                                                               
criminal activities.   Under  current statute,  investigators are                                                               
only able  to hold massage therapists  - who are often  victims -                                                               
accountable for criminal activities.   The cycle of human and sex                                                               
trafficking remains unbroken until  the business owner is legally                                                               
accountable for his/her establishment's activities.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
3:50:54 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.   EDWARDS-SMITH  expressed   that  the   board  has   drafted                                                               
regulations to ensure  that there is no  impact on establishments                                                               
owned  by licensed  massage  therapists.   The  owners have  been                                                               
vetted  with  fingerprinting  and background  checks,  which  are                                                               
necessary  protocols   in  the  industry.     Owners  of  massage                                                               
establishments  will be  required to  maintain local,  state, and                                                               
federal standards  of health and  safety and operate in  a manner                                                               
that ensures public protection.  He remarked:                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     As  far as  exemptions,  with  the necessary  statutory                                                                    
     change  to  licensing   establishments,  we  looked  to                                                                    
     address loopholes  that have been  known to be  or have                                                                    
     the potential  of exploitation by illegal  practices in                                                                    
     the massage  industry.  After careful  consideration of                                                                    
     information  presented by  the  massage therapy  boards                                                                    
     from around  the United  States through  the federation                                                                    
     of  massage therapy  board  and  public testimony,  the                                                                    
     board  determined  that  a  strengthening  of  existing                                                                    
     exemption  language  was  in  the  interest  of  public                                                                    
     protection.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR.  EDWARDS-SMITH  stated that  the  board  determined that  two                                                               
exemptions  required  a  strengthening  of  language  to  prevent                                                               
illegal exploitation of existing  statute.  The current exemption                                                               
language for  reflexology and  structural integration  allows any                                                               
acting  practitioner to  claim an  exemption by  defining his/her                                                               
practice as only involving the hands  and feet or as a structural                                                               
integrator.  Reflexology  was not defined in statute  and did not                                                               
require  proof  of  credentials.    He  expressed  that  research                                                               
demonstrated  that  acting  practitioners could  avoid  licensure                                                               
with a  non-professional public  membership to  the International                                                               
Association  of   Structural  Integrators  (IASI).     The  board                                                               
determined   that  public   protection   required  closing   such                                                               
loopholes.   The board also determined  that exemptions involving                                                               
an act of  touch must be registered with the  division to provide                                                               
a resource  for investigators to  take appropriate action  in the                                                               
event of suspected  illegal activity.  The  board determined that                                                               
changes in  education requirements are necessary  for consistency                                                               
with the  skill components of  entry-level education.   The board                                                               
reviewed a study  of entry analysis which resulted  in the change                                                               
to 624-hour  school programs  to prepare  graduates for  safe and                                                               
competent  practice.   The board  recognized that  the four  hour                                                               
requirement for blood-borne pathogen courses was unnecessary.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
3:54:18 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  JOSEPHSON  asked  whether the  board  decided  to                                                               
engage  in  an effort  to  review  practices of  reflexology  and                                                               
structural integration  and include  them in  the concern  of sex                                                               
trafficking.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. EDWARDS-SMITH  stated the board was  targeting the exemptions                                                               
that utilized  touch, listed as paragraphs  7, 10, 11, and  13 of                                                               
AS  08.61.080.   He stated  that no  profession was  singled out;                                                               
there  are  four  exemptions for  which  registration  was  being                                                               
required.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  JOSEPHSON noted  that this  is a  new board.   He                                                               
asked  whether the  board was  concerned that  other trades  were                                                               
negatively coloring reputable massage  therapy practitioners.  He                                                               
stated that he does not  understand why the board reached outside                                                               
its  field to  discuss regulating  or registering  someone else's                                                               
trade.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR. EDWARDS-SMITH  stated there  is a disagreement  about whether                                                               
structural integrators are outside  the massage therapy industry.                                                               
The Federation  for State Massage  Therapy Boards had a  job task                                                               
analysis which  confirmed that  somatic therapists,  Rolfers, and                                                               
structural  integrators  were  interchangeable.   The  data  also                                                               
confirmed that body workers and  meta practitioners performed and                                                               
viewed  the importance  of tasks  nearly  identically to  massage                                                               
therapists.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JOSEPHSON offered his  impression that a Rolfer is                                                               
a professional  in the  field of  medicine, and  a masseuse  is a                                                               
different kind of professional.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
3:57:47 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE STUTES  commented that  the bill  is overreaching.                                                               
She referred  to a letter  which indicated  that there is  such a                                                               
large  differential  between  massage therapists  and  the  other                                                               
modalities that  massage therapists instituted a  lawsuit against                                                               
a Rolfer professing  to be a massage therapist.   She offered her                                                               
opinion that  using the FBI or  law enforcement is an  excuse for                                                               
overreach.   She asked why  the board  felt the "need  to control                                                               
everyone in the playground."                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
3:59:36 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  EDWARDS-SMITH stated  that  he disagrees  that  the bill  is                                                               
overreaching.     He  mentioned   that  there  is   concern,  not                                                               
specifically  with Rolfing,  but with  all exemptions.   Colorado                                                               
had 30  cases of  exploitation of  it reflexology  exemption last                                                               
year.   He  said that  the board  is not  looking to  control the                                                               
exemptions, but  tighten the language.   Right now,  anyone could                                                               
hang  a  shingle  and  be   exempt  from  regulation,  and  1,000                                                               
licensees wouldn't  have to renew  their license if  they changed                                                               
their  description  to  structural  integrator.   He  added  that                                                               
structural integration  coursework is  common in  massage therapy                                                               
schools.  He stated that  the term "structural integrator" is not                                                               
a  registered trademark  like Rolfing:   Rolfing  is a  trademark                                                               
bodywork technique that has made  its way into exemption language                                                               
in  massage therapy  statutes  in an  effort  to distinguish  the                                                               
brand.   He offered  his understanding that  "there are  6 states                                                               
out of  46 states  that have Rolfing  exemptions."   He expressed                                                               
that  the  Rolfing  exemptions  in these  states  were  based  on                                                               
conclusions from  experts in the  professions, but were  based on                                                               
lobbying efforts by IASI.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
4:02:21 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE STUTES offered her  interpretation of Mr. Edwards-                                                               
Smith's comments.   She analyzed that he  wants other professions                                                               
to conform to the same regulations  that he has to conform to and                                                               
have  the same  educational  requirements.   She  compared it  to                                                               
nurses  complying with  doctor's regulations  or being  forced to                                                               
get more  schooling.  She expressed  that the bill does  not make                                                               
sense to her, but she would keep her mind open.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
4:03:21 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  KITO stated  that there  isn't time  for public  testimony                                                               
today; it will be heard at a future meeting.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
4:04:11 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KNOPP  referred to the  29 cases in  Anchorage and                                                               
130 in  Alaska mentioned by Mr.  Edwards-Smith.  He asked  if the                                                               
cases were  infractions on licensed  facilities and what  type of                                                               
facilities they were.   He questioned whether  the regulations in                                                               
place are  working if  the infractions  were at  licensed massage                                                               
facilities.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
4:05:08 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ANGELA  BIRT,  Chief   Investigator,  Division  of  Corporations,                                                               
Business,  and  Professional  Licensing  (DCBPL),  Department  of                                                               
Commerce, Community & Economic  Development (DCCED), responded to                                                               
Representative Knopp's  question, stating that the  numbers refer                                                               
to facilities  identified by the  Anchorage Police  Department or                                                               
the  FBI   as  potential  human   trafficking  locations.     The                                                               
facilities   are  not   all  being   investigated  and   are  not                                                               
necessarily where  infractions occurred.  Most  of the facilities                                                               
are advertised as  massage operations.  She stated  that there is                                                               
currently no law  that would allow inspections  of the facilities                                                               
in question.   The  law requires  individual practitioners  to be                                                               
licensed,  but there  is no  ability to  hold the  facility owner                                                               
accountable.    She  expressed that  there  are  many  facilities                                                               
across  the state  that should  be investigated,  but law  limits                                                               
doing  so.   She  reiterated  that  the  numbers do  not  reflect                                                               
infractions, but  do reflect  facilities identified  as potential                                                               
human and  sex trafficking operations  operating under  the guise                                                               
of massage parlors.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
4:07:33 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KNOPP  asked whether registered but  not regulated                                                               
facilities would be  investigated by Ms. Birt and  DCBPL under HB                                                               
110, and  asked if the  investigative charges would be  billed to                                                               
the Board of Massage Therapists.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MS. BIRT  stated that the number  and types of complaints  are so                                                               
varied that  she cannot answer  definitively.  She said  that she                                                               
is not  sure if the areas  of practice [in the  complaints] would                                                               
be under the  jurisdiction of the board  for investigative costs.                                                               
She noted  that if a  Rolfer was suspected of  practicing massage                                                               
therapy,  then  the division  would  have  to look  at  potential                                                               
unlicensed practice and the cost would go to the board.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KNOPP   stated  that  he  has   been  to  massage                                                               
therapists and  Rolfers and  has never  acknowledged similarities                                                               
between  the two  professions.   He asked  how Mr.  Edwards-Smith                                                               
designated similarities.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
4:09:23 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. EDWARDS-SMITH  stated that  the similarity  lies in  the idea                                                               
that  Rolfing  is a  brand.    The  United States  Patent  Office                                                               
granted service  mark rights for  the word "Rolfing" to  the Rolf                                                               
Institute of Structural  Integration in 1979.  It  is a trademark                                                               
brand  of a  massage  modality  - a  modality  that utilizes  the                                                               
manipulation  of soft  tissue.    He noted  that  there are  many                                                               
techniques that are brands.   He drew attention to language [from                                                               
the International  Association of Structural  Integrators (IASI),                                                               
which read as follows, original punctuation included]:                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     IASI stays on top of  the latest efforts in legislation                                                                    
     and we  do our best to  inform and affect the  law when                                                                    
     possible.  Our  member   surveys  have  concluded  that                                                                    
     structural  integrators  want   the  profession  to  be                                                                    
     recognized as  a distinct form  of health  care. Though                                                                    
     this is  a difficult  and time-consuming task,  IASI is                                                                    
     committed to  climbing this mountain with  patience and                                                                    
     perseverance.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     IASI works for legislation  which will allow structural                                                                    
     integrators  to  maintain  their unique  place  in  the                                                                    
     healthcare  field,   practicing  free   of  unnecessary                                                                    
     restrictions.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR. EDWARDS-SMITH  asked what the  difference is  between massage                                                               
therapy  and  Rolfing.   He  stated  that  massage therapy  is  a                                                               
complex  profession with  many tiers  and  levels of  competency.                                                               
Structural integrators  also have  a high  standard and  level of                                                               
competency.  He expressed that  the board is asking to strengthen                                                               
language, asking [other modality  practitioners] to be certified,                                                               
and asking to close a loophole  that allows anyone to claim to be                                                               
a structural  integrator.  He stated  that structural integrators                                                               
and lobbyists  notified the board  that they  support maintaining                                                               
the exemption.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
4:12:31 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  WOOL   asked  whether   a  massage   facility  of                                                               
questionable  activity involved  police action  before the  board                                                               
was   created.     He  asked   if  Ms.   Birt  was   involved  in                                                               
investigations related  to massage  therapy prior to  the board's                                                               
existence.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
4:13:08 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. BIRT responded that the division was not involved.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  WOOL  assessed  that   the  licensing  board  was                                                               
created  in response  to discussion  of  illicit massage  parlors                                                               
becoming places  where sex trafficking  happened as an  effort to                                                               
tighten  up   the  industry   and  legitimize   those  practicing                                                               
legitimate  massage.   Now  a  board  investigator is  called  to                                                               
investigate  a potentially  illegitimate  massage  facility.   He                                                               
noted that  now that there is  a board, an activity  breaking the                                                               
same laws has different jurisdiction.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS.  BIRT  responded  that  there  is  still  a  law  enforcement                                                               
component of any investigation, but  HB 110 would allow the board                                                               
to  visit  the locations  and  ask  for credentials  for  massage                                                               
therapists operating  there.  She  remarked, "Instead  of holding                                                               
the trafficking  victims accountable  for unlicensed  practice or                                                               
not being  able to close down  the shop but simply  stop that one                                                               
person, the state could then close that facility."                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
4:14:53 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WOOL asked  if that is the result of  the Board of                                                               
Massage Therapists or of HB 110.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. EDWARDS-SMITH answered that it  is based on the provisions of                                                               
HB 110.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  WOOL  noted  that  the  bill  has  not  yet  been                                                               
enacted.    He  assessed  that  the  massage  industry  has  been                                                               
affected by the  sex trafficking component, which was  one of the                                                               
motivations for creating  the board.  He asked if  there has been                                                               
similar activity with Rolfing.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MS. BIRT answered, "Not to my knowledge."                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
4:15:42 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BIRCH stated that it  seems police action has been                                                               
happening in massage parlors; Rolfers  haven't been the source of                                                               
illicit  activity.   He  offered  his opinion  that  it might  be                                                               
better to leave  the matter aside.  He  offered his understanding                                                               
that the  massage therapy and  Rolfing businesses all have  to be                                                               
licensed  by the  state  and are  legitimate  businesses in  that                                                               
sense.  He asked if Rolfing  competes with massage therapy and is                                                               
viewed as competition for providing a similar service.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR. EDWARDS-SMITH  offered his  view that  HB 110  is a  means of                                                               
closing an  exploitable loophole.   He stated that HB  110 should                                                               
have no effect on Rolfers.   He stated that the board's intention                                                               
is to change  statute to limit individuals with  no background in                                                               
massage  therapy  from  hanging  up   a  sign,  practicing  as  a                                                               
structural integrator,  and avoiding  licensure.  He  stated that                                                               
it is  in the view of  public protection to provide  oversight to                                                               
ensure that wouldn't happen.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  BIRCH   noted  that  the  businesses   must  have                                                               
business licenses but  don't fall under the purview  of the Board                                                               
of Massage Therapists.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR. EDWARDS-SMITH agreed.  He added that ensuring that a Rolfer                                                                 
is certified would assure the public that the person has met the                                                                
minimum standards in his/her profession and are certified.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR KITO announced that HB 110 was held over.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
4:18:30 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                              
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
There being no further business before the committee, the House                                                                 
Labor and Commerce Standing Committee meeting was adjourned at                                                                  
4:19 p.m.                                                                                                                       

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB110 Sponsor Statement 2.14.17.pdf HL&C 2/15/2017 3:15:00 PM
HB 110
HB110 Supporting Documents - Support Letter Gibbs 2.14.17.msg HL&C 2/15/2017 3:15:00 PM
HB 110
HB110 Version A.PDF HL&C 2/15/2017 3:15:00 PM
HB 110
HB110 Fiscal Note DCCED-DCBPL 2.10.17.pdf HL&C 2/15/2017 3:15:00 PM
HB 110
HB110 Sectional Analysis 2.14.17.pdf HL&C 2/15/2017 3:15:00 PM
HB 110
HB110 Supporting Documents - Support Letters 2.15.17.pdf HL&C 2/15/2017 3:15:00 PM
HB 110
HB110 Supporting Documents - Opposition Letters 2.15.17.pdf HL&C 2/15/2017 3:15:00 PM
HB 110