The bill SB137 Engrossed seeks to dissolve the Alabama Board of Massage Therapy and establish the Alabama Massage Therapy Licensing Board under the Secretary of State's jurisdiction. This move is recommended by the Sunset Committee and involves repealing the existing Chapter 43 of Title 34, Code of Alabama 1975, and creating a new Chapter 43A. The new board will oversee the licensure and regulation of massage therapists, establishments, schools, and instructors, and will be responsible for ensuring that practitioners meet specific educational and competency standards. The bill provides detailed definitions of terms related to massage therapy, outlines exemptions and scope of practice, and specifies the composition and duties of the new board. It also includes provisions for the transfer of powers and duties from the former board to the new one and extends the renewal date for certain licenses and registrations.

The bill also addresses the licensing requirements for massage therapists and establishments, including education, examination, background checks, and fees. It sets forth the process for license renewal, disciplinary actions for misconduct, and penalties for unlicensed practice. The bill prohibits the use of the terms "massage" or "bodywork" in advertising by unlicensed individuals or entities and requires licensed massage therapists and establishments to include their license number in advertisements. It empowers the board to seek injunctions and civil penalties for violations and supersedes local regulations except for zoning and occupational license taxes. The bill also sets requirements for massage therapy schools and instructors and mandates a continuing education program for license renewals. The bill is in line with the Sunset Committee's recommendations, defines a new crime, and is exempt from certain constitutional requirements, with an effective date of June 1, 2024.

Statutes affected:
Engrossed: 34-43-1, 34-43-21