In 2013 and 2014, elected officials across California relayed a message to the League of California Cities about one of the challenges facing cities: the inability to regulate the massage industry and the resulting explosion of illicit establishments. Cities worked with their Legislators to craft legislation that would return local authority to cities to regulate massage businesses and give cities the tools to shut down businesses violating local ordinances.
AB 1147 (Bonilla, Gomez, and Holden)
goes into effect in January, 2015. This landmark legislation allows local governments to use their regulatory and land use authority, as is the case with other businesses, to ensure the public’s safety, reduce human trafficking, and enforce local standards for the operation of the business of massage therapy. Under AB 1147, cities and counties will be able to regulate the business that provides the massage therapy services and the California Massage Therapy Council will be responsible for regulating those individuals who apply or have a certification to provide massage therapy services.
Prior to the enactment of AB 1147, jurisdictions could only impose requirements on massage therapy businesses that were the same as those uniformly applied to all other business providing professional services. Because local jurisdictions regulate different types of businesses differently and there isn’t a uniform set of “professional service” regulations, jurisdictions were unable to regulate an industry that can be susceptible to criminal activity, including human trafficking.
In addition, on September 15, 2015 the makeup of the California Massage Therapy Council will change from 20 members to 13, with more representation from a diverse set of stakeholders. New additions will include a member from the California Police Chiefs organization, a member from an anti-human trafficking organization, a city attorney, and a public health official.
As local jurisdictions look to adopt new ordinances that comply with AB 1147, the League of California Cities hopes that this web site can assist by providing helpful information. This tab provides various resources and reading materials. In addition, you can see which jurisdictions supported AB 1147 as well as recent new articles on this issue. The League would like to post newly adopted ordinances on our web site. If your city has a new ordinance, please send us a link and we will post it for informational purposes. Finally, the League drafted a Frequently Asked Questions