Union City Mayor Calls on Legislature to Enact Massage Therapy Business Law

The law would give local governments authority to regulate those establishments and better protect the public

Union City logo. Patch photo archive.
Union City logo. Patch photo archive.
Information submitted by City of Union City—

In Sacramento Monday afternoon, the Legislature’s joint hearing of the Assembly Business, Professions and Consumer Protection Committee and Senate Business, Professions and Economic Development Committee will be examining SB 731 (Oropeza), legislation enacted in 2008 that created a voluntary certification process through a nonprofit organization for massage professionals. 

This legislation sunsets on Jan. 1, 2015 and the City of Union City is advocating that the law is replaced with new legislation that enables cities throughout California to apply reasonable land use regulations and public safety enforcement to all of our businesses, including massage establishments.

Monday’s hearing was proceeded by a news conference in the Capitol where mayors, council members, police chiefs, lieutenants and other law enforcement were joined by Assembly Member Jimmy Gomez of Los Angeles to voice their support of SB 731.

SB 731 has an unintended consequence that has resulted in proliferation of establishments offering illicit services, many of which are also fronts for human trafficking. In Union City, the number of massage establishments has grown significantly since SB 731 took effect.

Although Mayor Dutra-Vernaci was unable to attend Monday’s hearing, she issued the following statement at the start of the hearing: “We stand with the League of California Cities and the California Police Chiefs Association to strongly support the sunset of the failed experiment of SB 731. We need the nonprofit organization, the California Massage Therapy Council, to be replaced with a state agency that is responsible for certifying massage therapy businesses and their employees so that these business owners become liable when illicit activity occurs in their establishments. It’s time to restore the authority cities lost under SB 731 so that we can apply reasonable land use regulations and public safety enforcement to all of our businesses.”



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