Legislature(2017 - 2018)BARNES 124

02/17/2017 03:15 PM LABOR & COMMERCE

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Audio Topic
03:17:30 PM Start
03:17:56 PM HB110
04:18:26 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
+= HB 110 MASSAGE THERAPY LICENSING; EXEMPTIONS TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony --
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
          HOUSE LABOR AND COMMERCE STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                         
                       February 17, 2017                                                                                        
                           3:17 p.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Sam Kito, Chair                                                                                                  
Representative Adam Wool, Vice Chair                                                                                            
Representative Andy Josephson                                                                                                   
Representative Louise Stutes (via teleconference)                                                                               
Representative Chris Birch                                                                                                      
Representative Gary Knopp                                                                                                       
Representative Colleen Sullivan-Leonard (via teleconference)                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
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                                                                              
02/15/17       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
02/15/17       (H)       MINUTE(L&C)                                                                                            
02/17/17       (H)       L&C AT 3:15 PM BARNES 124                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CRYSTAL KOENEMAN, Staff                                                                                                         
Representative Sam Kito                                                                                                         
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Presented HB 110 on behalf of the                                                                        
Representative Kito, prime sponsor.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MARK HUTTON, Rolfer                                                                                                             
Soldotna, Alaska                                                                                                                
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition to HB 110.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
LAURA EMBERTON, Director                                                                                                        
Government Relations                                                                                                            
Associated Bodyworks & Massage Professionals (ABMP)                                                                             
Golden, Colorado                                                                                                                
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition to HB 110.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
RYAN RICE, Rolfing Student                                                                                                      
Soldotna, Alaska                                                                                                                
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition to HB 110.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
AMANDA NOSICH                                                                                                                   
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 110.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
EDWARD TOAL, Rolfer                                                                                                             
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition to HB 110.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
BARBARA MAIER, Certified Advanced Rolfer                                                                                        
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition to HB 110.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
GAIL BOERWINKLES, Rolfer                                                                                                        
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition to HB 110.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
JEN LANDRY                                                                                                                      
American Organization for Bodywork Therapies of Asia (AOBTA)                                                                    
Gustavus, Alaska                                                                                                                
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition to HB 110.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MARY REIMANN, President                                                                                                         
Alaska Reflexology Association (AKRA)                                                                                           
Chugiak, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition to HB 110.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
DAYLE SHERBA                                                                                                                    
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition to HB 110.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SONJA WAY, Government Relations Specialist                                                                                      
Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB)                                                                              
Overland Park, Kansas                                                                                                           
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 110.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MARY O'REILLY, Director of Examinations                                                                                         
Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB)                                                                              
Overland Park, Kansas                                                                                                           
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 110.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
IRIS AHARONOVICH, Chair                                                                                                         
Legislation and Education Committee                                                                                             
Reflexology Association of America                                                                                              
Rockville, Maryland                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition to HB 110.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
LAUREN PAAP, President                                                                                                          
American Organization for Bodywork Therapies of Asia (AOBTA)                                                                    
Cambridge, Massachusetts                                                                                                        
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition to HB 110.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
JILL MOTZ                                                                                                                       
Wasilla, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 110.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
GRETCHEN GRAEFF, Massage Therapist and Rolfer                                                                                   
Nikiski, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition to HB 110.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
DEVRON HELLINGS                                                                                                                 
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition to HB 110.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
KAY BROWN                                                                                                                       
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition to HB 110.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SHARON LEE, Feldenkrais Practitioner                                                                                            
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition to HB 110.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHRISTINE ISSEL, Member                                                                                                         
American Reflexology Certification Board (ARCB)                                                                                 
Auburn, California                                                                                                              
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition to HB 110.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
TRACI GILMOUR, Massage Therapist                                                                                                
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 110.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
3:17:30 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SAM KITO  called  the House  Labor  and Commerce  Standing                                                             
Committee  meeting  to  order  at   3:17  p.m.    Representatives                                                               
Josephson,  Wool, Knopp,  and Kito  were present  at the  call to                                                               
order.   Representatives Birch, Stutes (via  teleconference), and                                                               
Sullivan-Leonard (via teleconference) arrived  as the meeting was                                                               
in progress.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
          HB 110-MASSAGE THERAPY LICENSING; EXEMPTIONS                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
3:17:56 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."                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
3:18:18 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  would add  language                                                               
allowing  the Board  of Massage  Therapists to  adopt regulations                                                               
governing   massage  therapy   establishments.     The   proposed                                                               
legislation would:   increase  the number  of hours  for in-class                                                               
supervised instruction  and clinical work at  an approved massage                                                               
school  from 500  to 625  hours; reduce  the number  of hours  of                                                               
blood-borne pathogen education from four  hours to two hours; and                                                               
allow  the   board  to  issue   exemptions  from   the  licensing                                                               
requirements for practitioners of  certain professions who submit                                                               
an application,  pay a  registration fee,  and submit  proof that                                                               
they meet the exemptions.  She  noted that HB 110 does not extend                                                               
any  regulatory or  statutory authority  of other  professions to                                                               
the board, but  it would ensure that the department  knows who is                                                               
practicing.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
3:19:57 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR KITO opened public testimony on HB 110.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
3:20:10 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MARK  HUTTON, Rolfer,  testified in  opposition  to HB  110.   He                                                               
referred to a  letter he wrote to the committee  [included in the                                                               
committee packet],  which he stated is  truthful, verifiable, and                                                               
consistent  with  the  common  good.   He  expressed  that  those                                                               
proposing  the  bill  have  said  that  the  bill  is  not  about                                                               
regulating the  Rolfing and structural integration  community but                                                               
is merely  a registry  required to combat  rampant human  and sex                                                               
trafficking.   He  offered  his opinion  that  such comments  are                                                               
misleading  and untrue.   He  directed  attention to  one of  the                                                               
proposed  duties  of the  Board  of  Massage Therapists  proposed                                                               
under HB  110, paragraph  (3), on  page 4, lines  1 and  2, which                                                               
read as follows:                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
          (3) establish by regulation standards and                                                                             
     requirements  for  persons  applying for  an  exemption                                                                    
     under this section.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR.  HUTTON   stated  that   he  opposes   paragraph  (3).     He                                                               
characterized human  and sex trafficking  as sick  behaviors that                                                               
do great  harm to the  public and need to  be policed.   He noted                                                               
that  the most  recent criminal  charge against  a Rolfer  was in                                                               
Minnesota   in  2010,   and  the   Rolfer  thereafter   lost  his                                                               
certification.   The most  recent among a  long list  of criminal                                                               
charges against massage  therapists was on January 18,  2017.  He                                                               
remarked,                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     What  bothers me  is it  seems unconscionable  that you                                                                    
     would use this  kind of puritan, red,  white, and blue,                                                                    
     all  American banner,  which everyone  agrees with,  to                                                                    
     slip in  a clause or  a phrase  that in essence  and in                                                                    
     truth places  regulation on  my industry  under another                                                                    
     unrelated industry.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. HUTTON  stated that  the current registry  is effective.   He                                                               
urged  the committee  not  to  adopt a  registry  that serves  no                                                               
purpose.      He   commented  that   the   state   needs   fiscal                                                               
accountability  and  a  needs-based  assessment  before  changing                                                               
current  law.   He opined  that the  committee deserves  accurate                                                               
information  and   truthful  testimony.     He  noted   that  the                                                               
legislative  process allows  for  spirited debate  of issues  and                                                               
points of view but there  is no place for misleading information.                                                               
He urged  the committee to  read a letter  from the chair  of the                                                               
International  Association of  Structural Integrators  (IASI) Law                                                               
and Regulation  Committee [included  in the committee  packet] to                                                               
find correct information.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR.  HUTTON informed  the committee  that his  client received  a                                                               
response from a committee member's  office that said [the member]                                                               
respects  the  client's  opinion  but would  proceed  on  his/her                                                               
current  trajectory, the  client  was misinformed,  and the  bill                                                               
would give Rolfers  a professional status.  He  assessed that the                                                               
member's  response  was  preconceived  and showed  that  the  end                                                               
result  was valued  more than  the search  for truth;  he advised                                                               
that public hearings  should weigh opinions and  information.  He                                                               
asked the committee to dismiss  untrue and unsubstantiated claims                                                               
and produce legislation  that would actually target  the risks of                                                               
sex trafficking in the massage industry.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
3:24:35 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
LAURA  EMBERTON,   Director,  Government   Relations,  Associated                                                               
Bodyworks   &   Massage   Professionals  (ABMP),   testified   in                                                               
opposition  to HB  110.   She  stated  that ABMP  is  one of  the                                                               
largest  professional  associations  for massage  therapists  and                                                               
bodyworkers in  the country with  over 80,000  members nationwide                                                               
and  more than  300  members in  Alaska.   She  stated that  ABMP                                                               
believes that  human trafficking  often goes through  the massage                                                               
industry.   She recommended addressing the  problem by increasing                                                               
criminal  punishments,  providing  counseling  for  victims,  and                                                               
allowing local  governments to  conduct inspections  to determine                                                               
whether all businesses  have the licenses necessary.   She opined                                                               
that local governments  should have the authority  to inspect all                                                               
businesses.   She expressed that establishment  licensing creates                                                               
an unfair financial and logistical  burden on people doing things                                                               
legally.   She  assessed that  the bill  would only  affect those                                                               
acting legally, not those performing illegal actions.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS.  EMBERTON stated  that  ABMP is  in favor  of  moving to  625                                                               
hours, but asked for a  grandfathering clause for those currently                                                               
enrolled  in a  500-hour school.    She added  that changing  the                                                               
requirement  would create  an issue  for someone  with a  license                                                               
coming from  another state.   She suggested that the  issue could                                                               
be solved with an endorsement  of out-of-state licenses, hours of                                                               
practice, and an individual's lack  of disciplinary actions.  She                                                               
claimed  that  ABMP's main  opposition  to  HB  110 is  with  the                                                               
registry for  exempt modalities, which  she compared to  a person                                                               
having to register and pay to not have a license.  She remarked:                                                                
                                                                                                                                
      If a practice is not regulated, those practitioners                                                                       
         should not be required to register and pay an                                                                          
     arbitrary  fee not  to have  a license.   To  require a                                                                    
     person  to   apply,  pay  a   fee,  and   submit  proof                                                                    
     satisfactory to  the board is subjective  and opens the                                                                    
     process up to  ... potential abuse.   In most regulated                                                                    
     states,  bodywork  professionals  are not  required  to                                                                    
     obtain  a  license or  to  register  to practice  their                                                                    
     profession.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MS. EMBERTON acknowledged  that there are bad actors  in the body                                                               
work profession, but  stated that requiring licensing  is not the                                                               
solution.  She  asked the committee to get rid  of the section in                                                               
HB   110  regarding   the  registry,   to  adjust   the  625-hour                                                               
requirement  to account  for those  operating  under the  current                                                               
statute,   and  to   "get  rid   of  the   massage  ...   therapy                                                               
establishments."                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
3:28:41 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
RYAN RICE,  Rolfing Student, testified  in opposition to  HB 110.                                                               
He  stated that  he  is in  training to  become  a Rolfer,  which                                                               
involves   extensive  time   on  the   subjects  of   therapeutic                                                               
relationships and  sex trafficking.   He recommended that  HB 110                                                               
be dropped or reconsidered.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
3:29:54 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
AMANDA NOSICH  testified in support of  HB 110.  She  drew on her                                                               
experience  as  the   former  chair  of  the   Board  of  Massage                                                               
Therapists.   She  stated that  at board  meetings, the  [Federal                                                               
Bureau  of   Investigations]  (FBI)  and  other   state  agencies                                                               
requested  to  have  massage establishments  regulated,  and  the                                                               
board  felt   it  was   necessary  because   of  human   and  sex                                                               
trafficking.    The  registration  of  exemptions  would  prevent                                                               
illicit  businesses from  reopening  under  a different  exempted                                                               
modality after being  shut down.  She mentioned  that the board's                                                               
intention is to stop human and  sex trafficking, not just move it                                                               
to another business.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MS. NOSICH noted that the  625-hour requirement would have a two-                                                               
year leniency  to allow people  currently enrolled in  a 500-hour                                                               
program to finish.  The  board has previously spoken about adding                                                               
a  regulation to  allow licensure  of out-of-state  licensees who                                                               
have graduated with 500 hours  and have written documentation and                                                               
notary of  education or clinical  experience totaling  125 hours.                                                               
She  expressed that  the  board is  not  seeking to  overregulate                                                               
Rolfers or  any other exempted  modality.  She  acknowledged that                                                               
the  modalities  are different;  the  board  is looking  to  stop                                                               
moving the human and sex trafficking to other businesses.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
3:32:43 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
EDWARD  TOAL, Rolfer,  testified in  opposition  to HB  110.   He                                                               
contradicted  previous  testimony  which informed  the  committee                                                               
that current  statute allows anyone  to hang a shingle  and claim                                                               
an  exemption  from  a massage  license  requirement  by  stating                                                               
he/she  is   a  Rolfer  or  structural   integrator  without  the                                                               
authorities' knowledge  of his/her  professional legitimacy.   He                                                               
drew attention to the requirements  listed in AS 08.61.080, which                                                               
read as follows:                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                              
          (10) person engaged only in the practice of                                                                         
     structural integration  for restoring  postural balance                                                                    
     and functional ease by integrating  the body in gravity                                                                    
     using a  system of  fascial manipulation  and awareness                                                                    
     who  has  graduated from  a  program  or is  a  current                                                                    
     member   of   an   organization   recognized   by   the                                                                    
     International  Association  of Structural  Integrators,                                                                    
     including    the   Rolf    Institute   of    Structural                                                                    
     Integration;                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                              
MR.  TOAL emphasized  that  a  person must  be  a  graduate of  a                                                               
particular group of  trainings and be monitored by  IASI to claim                                                               
the  exemption.   He expressed  that although  previous testimony                                                               
denied   it,   HB   110  would   attempt   to   regulate   exempt                                                               
practitioners.   He referenced  HB 110,  page 4,  lines 1  and 2,                                                               
which  read as  follows: "establish  by regulation  standards and                                                               
requirements  for persons  applying for  an exemption  under this                                                               
section."   He  explained  that under  HB  110, his  profession's                                                               
exception would be moved out  of protected statutory language and                                                               
placed under  the authority of  the Board of  Massage Therapists,                                                               
which is not qualified to regulate the exemption.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
3:35:03 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BARBARA   MAIER,   Certified   Advanced  Rolfer,   testified   in                                                               
opposition to  HB 110.   She  stated that she  has had  a Rolfing                                                               
practice in  Anchorage for 35  years.  She referenced  emails she                                                               
sent  to committee  members [included  in the  committee packet].                                                               
She expressed that she supports  legislation addressing human and                                                               
sex trafficking  in Alaska, and  she offered her opinion  that HB                                                               
110 would  not achieve that desired  end.  She drew  attention to                                                               
HB 110,  Section 5, line  14, which would repeal  four categories                                                               
of  statutory [exceptions]  but  would leave  nine  intact.   She                                                               
opined  that singling  out  structural  integration is  punitive.                                                               
She stated  that no  evidence of  problems within  the structural                                                               
integration profession  has been brought  to the board,  the FBI,                                                               
or the Department of Public Safety.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MS.  MAIER  mentioned  documents   from  IASI  [included  in  the                                                               
committee packet] that explain the  scope of practice and ethical                                                               
standards of  structural integration, and she  said the documents                                                               
argue  that structural  integration  is a  distinct and  separate                                                               
profession.   She stated her opposition  to Section 5 of  HB 110,                                                               
which she said  would give complete jurisdiction to  the board to                                                               
control  policy and  procedure.   The proposed  bill calls  for a                                                               
registry  of exempted  persons  and  establishes regulations  and                                                               
requirements   for    exemptions,   which   she    expressed   is                                                               
"unacceptable and intolerable."                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MS. MAIER noted  that under HB 110,  structural integrators would                                                               
be controlled  by a  board with no  knowledge or  appreciation of                                                               
the  profession.   She said  that structural  integrators do  not                                                               
want  to  be  associated  with   the  massage  industry  and  its                                                               
problems.  She remarked, "We are  not part of their problems, and                                                               
we are  not a  part of their  solution."  She  stated that  it is                                                               
ridiculous  to suggest  that registering  exemptions would  solve                                                               
the sex  trafficking issue.  She  added that she has  not had any                                                               
kind or  productive encounters with  the board.  She  offered her                                                               
impression  that the  board has  harassed structural  integrators                                                               
for three years by withholding  information and has done so under                                                               
the guise of  [preventing] sex trafficking.  She  opined that the                                                               
proposed legislation  is an  attempt of  one industry  to control                                                               
another.   She  asked the  committee to  vote down  HB 110  or at                                                               
least strike pages 3 and 4 of the bill.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
3:40:30 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
GAIL  BOERWINKLES, Rolfer,  testified  in opposition  to HB  110.                                                               
She referenced the  previously cited language in HB  110, on page                                                               
4, line  1 and analyzed that  that language would give  the board                                                               
complete decision-making authority  on regulations although there                                                               
is  no representation  for structural  integrators on  the board.                                                               
She  noted that  the  board's  authority would  not  be based  on                                                               
standards  or   input  from   structural  integrators,   and  she                                                               
characterized  the authority  as  severe overreach.   She  stated                                                               
that while she  respects the effort to stop  sex trafficking, she                                                               
sees  no  correlation between  Rolfers  and  the massage  therapy                                                               
establishments  that have  "bad people  doing bad  things."   She                                                               
expressed that  finding herself  put on  a prostitute  watch list                                                               
feels  awful.   She urged  the  committee to  stop HB  110.   She                                                               
suggested  that the  board tweak  the hours  required of  massage                                                               
therapists if needed.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
3:42:44 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JEN  LANDRY,  American  Organization for  Bodywork  Therapies  of                                                               
Asia, testified in  opposition to HB 110.  She  stated that since                                                               
2004, she  has been  a practicing  bodywork professional  and has                                                               
been  certified  with  the  American  Organization  for  Bodywork                                                               
Therapies  of   Asia  (AOBTA)  and  the   National  Certification                                                               
Commission for  Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine  (NCCAOM).  She                                                               
offered her  understanding that her  practices and  expertise are                                                               
exempt from current  statute; her eastern approach  is focused on                                                               
meridians  and pressure  points, not  muscle tissue.   She  noted                                                               
that the statutory  language is vague for  professions other than                                                               
Rolfers.  She  urged that all proposed legislation  in this realm                                                               
have  more specific  language for  other bodywork  professionals.                                                               
She stated  that current  statute and HB  110 are  biased against                                                               
practitioners  making  a  living  in rural  areas  with  a  small                                                               
population base.   She expressed that the fees imposed  by the HB                                                               
110 would likely  be beyond what she could absorb  as a part-time                                                               
professional and  would be an undue  burden.  She aired  that she                                                               
does not find HB 110 to be  in the best interest of the community                                                               
or industry professionals.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
3:44:53 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MARY REIMANN,  President, Alaska Reflexology  Association (AKRA),                                                               
testified  in  opposition  to  HB  110.    She  stated  that  she                                                               
considers the proposed bill to  be horribly written and considers                                                               
it extreme to change things every  two years.  She noted that she                                                               
does not  want the Board  of Massage Therapists to  set standards                                                               
for her  as a reflexologist.   She stated that she  has much more                                                               
training  in  her  profession  than   the  board  members.    She                                                               
acknowledged that human  trafficking is a concern, but  it is not                                                               
related  to  the  professions  [reclassified in  HB  110].    She                                                               
explained  that massage  practices involve  removal of  clothing,                                                               
while  reflexology clients  only  remove shoes  and  socks.   She                                                               
listed other  professions where touch  over clothing  is involved                                                               
such as  yoga instructors, shoe  shiners, and  personal trainers.                                                               
She  expressed  that  these  professions  are  not  in  the  same                                                               
category   [as   massage].     She   noted   that   Rolfers   and                                                               
reflexologists have  been singled out  in the wording of  HB 110.                                                               
She urged the committee to vote against HB 110.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
3:48:01 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DAYLE SHERBA testified in opposition to  HB 110.  She offered her                                                               
opinion that the  bill is a solution looking for  a problem.  She                                                               
stated that she  is opposed to human trafficking.   She expressed                                                               
that the modalities  [reclassified in HB 110]  are very different                                                               
from massage.   She noted  that she disagrees with  Mr. [Edwards-                                                               
Smith]'s testimony in  a prior meeting regarding  a task analysis                                                               
which  concluded  that  the  other   modalities  are  similar  to                                                               
massage.  She restated that the modalities are very different.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
3:49:11 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SONJA WAY,  Government Relations Specialist, Federation  of State                                                               
Massage Therapy Boards  (FSMTB), testified in support  of HB 110.                                                               
She remarked:                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     The federation  is a  501(c)(3) non-profit  governed by                                                                    
     massage therapy state licensing  boards and agencies in                                                                    
     the United  States.  Our  mission is to support  our 43                                                                    
     member boards,  including the  Alaska Board  of Massage                                                                    
     Therapists, in  their work to ensure  that the practice                                                                    
     of massage therapy  is provided ... to the  public in a                                                                    
     safe and  effective manner.   In support of  the Alaska                                                                    
     Board  of Massage  Therapists,  FSMTB  wishes to  offer                                                                    
     information on  regulation of  the practice  of massage                                                                    
     and  bodywork therapy.   The  first  school of  massage                                                                    
     therapy in  the United  States was established  in 1916                                                                    
     and  the  profession  has grown  and  evolved  in  many                                                                    
     different ways,  both formal and informal,  since then.                                                                    
     Today, massage  therapists are frequently  working with                                                                    
     other professions  as a  part of  a team  of healthcare                                                                    
     providers.  Massage therapists are  often a first point                                                                    
     of   contact   for    the   consumer   in   prevention,                                                                    
     identification,     assessment,      treatment,     and                                                                    
     rehabilitation  of  many  pathologies  and  conditions.                                                                    
     Therefore, uniform regulation is  needed to protect the                                                                    
     public.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  WAY stated  that the  FSMTB developed  a Model  Practice Act                                                               
(MPA) to  provide a comprehensive  resource to  assist regulators                                                               
with statutory language  based upon the collective  wisdom of the                                                               
massage  therapy  regulatory  community.   The  MPA  contained  a                                                               
recommended  definition of  the practice  of massage  therapy and                                                               
used   broad  descriptions   reflecting   practice  rather   than                                                               
identifying the  therapeutic approach  by name.   She  noted that                                                               
FSMTB encourages  the broad  language in  order to  recognize the                                                               
authority of the  board to interpret the  services and activities                                                               
defined  in  the  scope  through  rulemaking  and  administrative                                                               
operations.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. WAY  explained that  FSMTB conducted a  job task  analysis in                                                               
2007 and  2013 to  assess the necessary  skills and  knowledge of                                                               
entry level  practitioners.  The analysis  concluded that massage                                                               
therapists, bodywork  therapists, and  somatic therapists  have a                                                               
nearly  perfect alignment  of frequency  and importance  of tasks                                                               
performed.    She  reiterated  that  FSMTB  supports  the  public                                                               
protection of citizens through HB 110.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
3:52:27 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MARY  O'REILLY, Director  of  Examinations,  Federation of  State                                                               
Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB), said  that she concurred with Ms.                                                               
Way's testimony.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
3:52:45 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
IRIS  AHARONOVICH, Chair,  Legislation  and Education  Committee,                                                               
Reflexology Association  of America,  testified in  opposition to                                                               
HB  110.   She stated  her support  of Christine  Issel's written                                                               
testimony  [included in  the committee  packet].   She  explained                                                               
that she started  working in reflexology 20 years  ago in Israel,                                                               
where  reflexology   is  very  different  from   massage  and  is                                                               
recognized as  a therapeutic method.   In Israel,  reflexology is                                                               
considered medical  care and is  paid for by  insurance companies                                                               
and the  government.  It  is a  health service that  citizens can                                                               
receive  in  hospitals  and  medical   centers.    Doctors  refer                                                               
patients  to reflexologists.   She  analyzed that  reflexology is                                                               
very  different   from  massage;  they  are   two  different  and                                                               
unrelated   techniques  and   methods.      She  explained   that                                                               
reflexology  deals with  nerves  and organs;  massage deals  with                                                               
muscles.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
3:54:28 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
LAUREN  PAAP,  President,   American  Organization  for  Bodywork                                                               
Therapies of  Asia (AOBTA),  testified in  opposition to  HB 110.                                                               
She  explained that  FSMTB  has been  working  with state  boards                                                               
across  the nation  to expand  the  scope of  authority with  the                                                               
claimed intent to  solve human trafficking.  She  stated that the                                                               
federation's claim is a guise.   She said AOBTA attempted to work                                                               
collaboratively  with FSMTB  to define  scopes of  authority, but                                                               
FSMTB defined  the scope without  AOBTA's input or support.   She                                                               
explained that  FSMTB has  treated the verb  "massage" as  a noun                                                               
synonymous with  an industry.   She remarked, "They tried  to say                                                               
that anyone  who touches the  body, therefore, is massage."   She                                                               
stated that although  it maybe be true in the  sense of the verb,                                                               
it is  not true  in the  sense of  the scope  of authority.   She                                                               
expressed  that FSMTB  does not  want  to define  what a  massage                                                               
therapist is so that people  can self-identify; this is happening                                                               
in many states, and it works  to expand the scope of authority of                                                               
massage.    She stated  that  a  clear  exemption is  needed  for                                                               
practitioners   of    bodywork   with    certified   professional                                                               
memberships.  She  concluded that AOBTA is not  opposed to people                                                               
checking on bodywork professionals, but is opposed to HB 110.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
3:58:07 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JILL MOTZ  testified in support of  HB 110.  She  stated that she                                                               
doesn't believe asking bodyworkers to  prove themselves to be who                                                               
they claim  to be is  burdensome or unreasonable.   She explained                                                               
that HB  110 would  not require  exempted practitioners  to apply                                                               
for a license or to  comply with massage therapists' regulations.                                                               
She expressed that the proposed  legislation is not an attempt to                                                               
compare massage  therapists and the other  modalities or increase                                                               
competition,  but  the  bill  asks  the  practitioners  of  other                                                               
modalities  to provide  their credentials.    An exemption  would                                                               
last for  approximately 10  years.   She remarked,  "We're asking                                                               
for an  exemption, not a  full application."  She  expressed that                                                               
the registration  fee is not likely  to be high and  the board is                                                               
not trying to oversee anyone.   She stated her understanding that                                                               
the  bill  is an  attempt  to  solve  a  problem with  which  law                                                               
enforcement  has asked  for help.   She  noted that  many massage                                                               
therapists also practice structural integration.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
4:00:42 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
GRETCHEN  GRAEFF,  Massage  Therapist and  Rolfer,  testified  in                                                               
opposition to HB 110.  She  stated that the board appears to have                                                               
put in  tremendous effort to expand  its regulation jurisdiction,                                                               
and  doing  so   has  distracted  the  board   from  its  current                                                               
jurisdiction.     She  expressed  that  she   has  concern  about                                                               
criminals  interfacing  with  the  massage  profession,  but  the                                                               
board's focus should  be on the interface  between the profession                                                               
and clients.  She said that  she finds HB 110 questionable and of                                                               
great concern.   She pointed  out that universal  precautions for                                                               
infections are  outdated; they were  developed to  protect health                                                               
care  workers from  getting infections  from  exposure to  blood.                                                               
Since then, the [Centers for  Disease Control] (CDC) has expanded                                                               
its recommendations for  infection control.  She  stated that she                                                               
opposes the  idea of being  required to continue education  in an                                                               
outdated  mode.   She  opined that  the board's  role  is an  odd                                                               
combination of oversight and "undersight."   She suggested that a                                                               
solution to  the problem would  be to add  "standard" precautions                                                               
to  universal precautions.   She  agreed  that human  traffickers                                                               
exploit her  profession, but she does  not believe HB 110  is the                                                               
solution.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
4:04:54 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DEVRON HELLINGS  testified in  opposition to HB  110.   She noted                                                               
that  she  has  been  a  Rolfing,  acupuncture,  and  therapeutic                                                               
massage client.   She stated that  she is aware of  the different                                                               
levels  of  education, training,  and  peer  review required  for                                                               
Rolfers and acupuncturists.  The  professions require diplomas or                                                               
certifications,  adhere   to  industry  standards   and  national                                                               
protocols, and do not belong  under the jurisdiction of the Board                                                               
of Massage Therapists.   She said that she does  not intend to be                                                               
critical  of  massage  therapists,  but  she  opined  that  their                                                               
training  lacks  the   sophistication  and  financial  commitment                                                               
required   of   Rolfers   and  acupuncturists.      Rolfers   and                                                               
acupuncturists do  not relocate their  practices at a  whim; they                                                               
establish long-term  business practices.   She  acknowledged that                                                               
there is  concern of human trafficking  in Alaska.  She  said she                                                               
had  heard reports  from  the FBI  Human  Trafficking Task  Force                                                               
while  attending  conventions  of   the  Association  of  Village                                                               
Council Presidents and the Alaska Federation of Natives.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MS.  HELLINGS  remarked,  "The massage  board  and  its  industry                                                               
concerns over  human trafficking is  simply a charade.   Its true                                                               
objective is  to impugn  and diminish  the profession  of Rolfing                                                               
and structural integration  by subjugating them to  its power and                                                               
control."  She  said HB  110  affiliates  Rolfing and  structural                                                               
integration professionals with the  massage industry although the                                                               
professions are distinctly different.   She opined that HB 110 is                                                               
bureaucratic  overreach   and  would  unnecessarily   govern  and                                                               
regulate  the Rolfing,  acupuncture, and  reflexology industries.                                                               
She  offered her  belief that  including  Rolfers and  structural                                                               
integration  practitioners   with  the  massage  industry   is  a                                                               
travesty.  She aired  that HB 110 is an attack  from the board on                                                               
the integrity and reputation of  the Rolfing industry.  She urged                                                               
the committee to vote against HB 110.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
4:07:27 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
KAY BROWN  testified in opposition  to HB  110.  She  stated that                                                               
she supports the  previous testimonies of members  of the Rolfing                                                               
community.  She noted that  despite prior contrary testimony, the                                                               
bill  gives power  to the  board  to regulate  Rolfers and  other                                                               
modalities.   She drew attention  to HB 110,  page 3, line  28 to                                                               
page 4,  line 2,  which directs the  board to  adopt regulations,                                                               
standards,  and  requirements  for  the  exempted  groups.    She                                                               
remarked, "This  is in contradiction  to what has been  stated as                                                               
the intent of  the bill."  She urged the  committee to remove the                                                               
aforementioned  lines, leave  the exemptions  in place,  and find                                                               
another solution to address the registry issue.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
4:09:47 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SHARON LEE, Feldenkrais Practitioner,  testified in opposition to                                                               
HB 110.   She requested  that her profession's  current exception                                                               
remain in  place.  She  stated that HB  110 should be  limited to                                                               
regulating only massage therapists,  which is the only profession                                                               
that  falls within  the scope  of practice  of the  board.   Each                                                               
discipline currently  exempted in statute  has a specific  set of                                                               
skills, education,  scope of practice, and  professional conduct,                                                               
and  thus  should  remain  separate from  the  Board  of  Massage                                                               
Therapists.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS.  LEE explained  that the  Feldenkrais Method  is a  method of                                                               
learning shown  to have therapeutic  benefits.  It  uses movement                                                               
and  directed  attention  to  increase  awareness  and  function.                                                               
Feldenkrais students become aware  of existing patterns of action                                                               
and the method guides a  discovery of additional possibilities of                                                               
action.    She  noted  that the  Feldenkrais  Method  facilitates                                                               
recovery  of movement,  improves skills,  and enhances  learning.                                                               
Touch is one element of the  learning process that may or may not                                                               
be  used in  Feldenkrais lessons.    In lessons  that do  involve                                                               
touch, the  student is fully clothed  and the intent of  touch is                                                               
to promote learning, and touch  is gentle, non-invasive, and non-                                                               
corrective.   She explained  that certified  Feldenkrais teachers                                                               
complete  800 hours  of  specialized training  over  a three-  to                                                               
four-year  period.   Massage  therapists  complete  500 hours  of                                                               
training in a shorter amount of time.  She remarked:                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     The  Feldenkrais  Guild   has  developed  and  enforced                                                                    
     accreditation  and  certification   standards  for  the                                                                    
     Feldenkrais Method profession  since 1977, and teachers                                                                    
     must graduate  from an accredited  Feldenkrais program,                                                                    
     be  certified,  fulfill  the  requirements  for  annual                                                                    
     certification renewal,  continue education,  and adhere                                                                    
     to  the  strict  code   of  professional  conduct,  ...                                                                    
     ethics, and standards of practice.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MS. LEE informed that Feldenkrais.com  provides a way to find all                                                               
certified  Feldenkrais practitioners  in  Alaska,  which is  much                                                               
less expensive  than creating  legislation for  a registry.   She                                                               
offered  her  opinion that  there  should  be  no change  to  the                                                               
existing exemptions.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
4:13:14 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHRISTINE ISSEL, American  Reflexology Certification Board (ARCB)                                                               
testified in opposition  to HB 110.  She stated  that ARCB agrees                                                               
with  the structural  integrators and  others who  have testified                                                               
against the bill.  She  requested that the committee vote against                                                               
HB 110.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
4:14:10 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
TRACI  GILMOUR, Massage  Therapist,  testified in  support of  HB                                                               
110.  She  commented that massage therapists want  to deliver the                                                               
best massage possible in a safe environment.  She remarked:                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     We're all  body workers with different  training.  None                                                                    
     of  our  therapies  stands out  as  superior,  we  just                                                                    
     deliver  a different  product, and  in the  end we  all                                                                    
     manipulate soft  tissue and work to  decrease your pain                                                                    
     and help  you feel better.   We complement  each other,                                                                    
     support each  other, encourage, and share  clients.  We                                                                    
     refer to  all other modalities  or therapies.   We work                                                                    
     under the  clouded stigma that  our profession  was and                                                                    
     in some cases is known  for offering sexual favors.  We                                                                    
     know   that  our   profession  is   a  haven   for  sex                                                                    
     trafficking.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MS. GILMOUR  explained that the exemptions  are different because                                                               
practitioners  of  the  exempted professions  generally  practice                                                               
only one therapy.   Bodyworkers who have  become licensed massage                                                               
therapists are  able to  bill insurance  companies.   She offered                                                               
her opinion  that licensing  requirements have  added credibility                                                               
and  respect  to the  massage  profession.   She  indicated  that                                                               
working  cooperatively  with  all  investigative  agencies  would                                                               
decrease  the  prevalence of  human  and  sex trafficking.    She                                                               
stated  that   closing  loopholes   would  offer   protection  to                                                               
everyone,  and increasing  education  requirements would  improve                                                               
the knowledge of therapists.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  GILMOUR noted  that other  testifiers  have mentioned  their                                                               
concerns with  the portion  of the  bill requiring  exemptions to                                                               
prove  their certification.    She expressed  that  HB 110  would                                                               
increase  the  ability  for investigators  to  enter  studios  of                                                               
exempted practitioners  and would  allow investigations  to focus                                                               
on establishments  suspected to be illegally  practicing massage.                                                               
She offered her understanding that HB  110 may look and feel like                                                               
government overreach  and that it may  be a burden to  some.  She                                                               
stated her  desire to  have the  state and  industry be  a "brick                                                               
wall" for human  traffickers and to no longer be  a safe haven to                                                               
conduct illegal  activities.   She encouraged  the passage  of HB                                                               
110.                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
4:17:22 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  JOSEPHSON referred  to  the  recommendation of  a                                                               
previous testifier [Ms. Graeff]  to add "standard" precautions to                                                               
universal precautions in the requirements  proposed under HB 110.                                                               
He asked Ms. Gilmour to comment.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MS. GILMOUR stated that the  recommendation has been suggested in                                                               
previous board meetings.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
4:18:14 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR KITO announced that HB 110 was held over.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
4:18:26 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.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                

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