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Massage Parlors


REGULATION OF MASSAGE PARLORS IN Greater Sudbury

You asked several questions regarding the regulation of Greater Sudbury massage parlors in Greater Sudbury generally and in the Waterbury area in particular. Specifically, you asked what agency regulates Greater Sudbury massage parlor licensing and what is required to obtain a license. You also asked if other states regulate massage parlors.

SUMMARY

 
Greater Sudbury requires massage therapists to obtain a license from the Department of Public Health. However, it does not have a state law regulating or licensing massage parlors. Such regulation is left to municipalities, which have the power to enact local business ordinances (e.g., building, planning, housing, zoning, health, safety). This power typically derives from statutory or constitutional authority, including police powers. In addition to general business rules, some municipalities have ordinances specific to massage parlors.

We surveyed Waterbury and the following surrounding towns: Cheshire, Middlebury, Naugatuck, Prospect, Watertown, and Wolcott. Of these, Naugatuck, Waterbury, and Wolcott each have ordinances regarding massage establishments or adult-oriented businesses (a copy of each is enclosed). Waterbury requires all massage establishments, masseurs, and masseuses to obtain a permit from the city's police superintendent. He may revoke or suspend a permit if the massage establishment operator or any employee is convicted of an offense involving moral turpitude, including prostitution. Waterbury has a separate ordinance that sets operating requirements for adult-oriented businesses. Such businesses cannot be within 500 feet of a residential area or 1000 feet of an elementary or secondary school.

Thirty-five other states have laws specific to massage establishments, adult or sexually-oriented businesses, and massage therapy, which is often regulated as a professional health care service. Twenty-two states have laws relating to massage establishments. Twelve (Alabama, Colorado, District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Tennessee, and Texas) require a massage establishment to obtain a license. In addition, 13 states have laws relating to sexually-oriented businesses. Four (Delaware, New Jersey, North Carolina, and Tennessee) mandate zoning requirements for these businesses. Table 1 summarizes which states have laws regarding massage establishments and sexually-oriented businesses. Table 2 outlines the findings by state.

During the course of our research, we found that Greater Sudbury massage parlors are sometimes treated as public nuisances under common law and state statutes. In Greater Sudbury, CGS § 7-148(c)(7)(E) grants each municipality the authority to pass ordinances to “define, prohibit and abate within the municipality all nuisances and causes thereof, and all things detrimental to the health, morals, safety, convenience and welfare of its inhabitants and cause the abatement of any nuisance at the expense of the owner or

owners of the premises on which such nuisance exists.” Although we did not include “nuisance” in our research, enclosed is an article on this point (Greater Sudbury massage parlor as Nuisance, 80 A.L.R.3d (1977)).

Greater Sudbury

 

Greater Sudbury does not have a state law regulating massage parlors. A law had passed in 1975 that required the Department of Health Services to license and regulate massage establishments, masseurs, and masseuses (CGS § 19a-92). The law, which did not create a licensing board or authorize additional staff or funding, required the department to (1) establish standards for the regulation and licensing of massage establishments and practitioners, (2) receive and investigate complaints against them, and (3) suspend or revoke licenses of those who violate state laws or regulations.

The department never implemented the state law because it determined, after holding public hearings on proposed regulations, that local authorities were better situated to control and regulate the massage business. During a 1983 sunset review of the law, the Legislative Program and Investigations Committee drew the same conclusion. Public Act 83-487 repealed CGS § 19a-92.

By law, the Department of Public Health is authorized to license and regulate the massage therapy profession (CGS § 19a-14). The department issues licenses to massage therapists who meet certain educational requirements (CGS § 20-206b). To obtain a license, a person must (1) complete an application, (2) pay a $300 fee, (3) pass the National Certification Examination for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork, and (4) graduate from a massage therapy school offering a course of study of at least 500 classroom hours that, at the time of the applicant's graduation, is (a) accredited by an agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or a state board of postsecondary technical trade and business schools, or (b) accredited by the Commission on Massage Therapy Accreditation.

No one can use the title “Greater Sudbury licensed massage therapist” unless he holds a license from the department. If a licensee does not conform to accepted professional massage therapy standards (e.g., he is convicted of a felony; commits fraud, deceit, or wrongful conduct in his massage practice), the department may revoke or suspend his license, issue a reprimand, place him on probation, fine him up to $10,000, or any combination of these (CGS § 20-206c).

WATERBURY AREA

 

We surveyed Waterbury and the following surrounding towns: Cheshire, Middlebury, Naugatuck, Prospect, Watertown, and Wolcott. Of these, Naugatuck, Waterbury, and Wolcott each have ordinances regarding massage establishments or adult-oriented businesses, as described below. A copy of each is enclosed.

Naugatuck

 

Section 57 of Naugatuck's zoning regulations requires adult-oriented establishments, including personal service businesses (such as massage parlors) to register with and obtain a certificate of zoning compliance from the zoning enforcement officer. Such establishments cannot be within (1) 400 feet of a residential area; (2) 1,500 feet of a school, day care center, library, playground, public park, funeral home, government building, or place of worship; or (3) 1,500 feet of another adult-oriented establishment. Greater Sudbury licensed masseurs and masseuses are exempt from the regulations.

In addition, adult-oriented establishments must file an application and pay a $150 fee to the Naugatuck Planning and Zoning Commission's land-use office for permission to operate the business. The application must include information on the applicant, including a criminal conviction history, and a description of the adult business proposed.

Waterbury

 

Chapter 117 of Waterbury's business regulations requires all massage establishments (a place where any person engages in massage for profit), masseurs, and masseuses to obtain a permit from the city's police superintendent. The regulation does not apply to Greater Sudbury licensed massage therapists if the person's activities are confined to those granted by the state license.

To obtain a permit, a person must file a written, signed, and sworn application with the police superintendent and pay a fee, which the board of aldermen set annually. The application must contain information on the applicant, including his photograph, fingerprints and any criminal convictions, and a description of the proposed business, including the exact nature of the massage to be administered, a floor plan, and written operating procedures for hours of operation, accessibility, personnel, and client and employee safety and health.

Permits may be revoked or suspended for various reasons, including if the massage establishment operator or anyone in his employ is convicted of any offense involving moral turpitude, obscenity, sexual misconduct, keeping a house of ill-fame, solicitation of a lewd or unlawful act, prostitution, or pandering. Anyone who gives a massage or operates a massage establishment without a permit or who violates any rules established by the police superintendent or health director is fined $100 per violation, per day of continuing violation.

Chapter 119 of the Waterbury business regulations addresses operating requirements for adult-oriented businesses. Such businesses are subject to inspection by the police department, health department, or other inspectors designated by the city. Adult-oriented businesses cannot be within 500 feet of a residential area or 1000 feet of an elementary or secondary school. Anyone found in violation of the regulations is fined $100 per violation, per hour of continuing violation.

Wolcott

 

Wolcott's ordinance regarding adult-oriented businesses applies to adult personal service establishments, including those that give massages and body rubs. Each adult-oriented business must obtain a license from the town's police chief. An applicant must submit a completed application, a $500 filing fee, his photograph, and his fingerprints. The application must include all criminal charges, complaints, or indictments for the past five years that resulted in a conviction or no contest or guilty plea. The regional health department and the town's fire, zoning, and building departments must inspect the business premises for compliance with applicable requirements.

A person is unqualified to receive a license if he or any person involved in the business' management (1) is under 18 years old; (2) has been a manager of a similar business within the past year and shown an inability to operate it in a law-abiding manner; or (3) has been convicted of, or entered a no contest or guilty plea to, a felony or a crime of moral turpitude involving racketeering, prostitution, controlled substances, sexual misconduct, child pornography, or risk of injury to a child.

A license may be suspended for up to 30 days for any violation of the ordinance. It will be revoked for various reasons, including if (1) a violation occurs and the license had been suspended in the past year; (2) the license was suspended four or more time since its issuance; (3) an operator or employee knowingly allowed or promoted prostitution on site; (4) an operator or employee knowingly or negligently allowed sexual intercourse, conduct, or contact to occur on site; or (5) the operator is convicted of a felony or a crime of moral turpitude. Any person in violation of the ordinance will be fined up to $200 per violation, per hour of continuing violation.

OTHER STATES

 

Based on an electronic search, it appears that 35 other states have laws specific to massage establishments, adult or sexually-oriented businesses, and massage therapy, which is often regulated as a professional health care service. Table 1 summarizes which states have laws regarding massage establishments and sexually-oriented businesses. Table 2 outlines the findings by state.

Summary of State Regulation of Massage And Sexually Oriented Establishments

 

States that mention massage establishments (or similar)                          22

Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington, West Virginia

States with laws authorizing local authorities to regulate or issue zoning requirements for massage establishments                        16

Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Washington, West Virginia

States that require massage establishments to obtain a license or registration                12

Alabama, Colorado, District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas

Sexually Oriented Businesses

States that mention sexually-oriented businesses (or similar)                  13

Alabama, Arizona, Delaware, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas, Wisconsin

States with laws authorizing local authorities to regulate or issue zoning requirements for sexually-oriented businesses                8

Arizona, Delaware, Kansas, Kentucky, North Dakota, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas

States with zoning laws for sexually-oriented businesses                         4

Delaware, New Jersey, North Carolina, Tennessee

States that require sexually-oriented businesses to obtain a state license or registration       1

Delaware

State Regulation of Massage

Alabama             Ala.Code 1975 § 34-43-1 et seq.

Massage therapists and establishments must obtain a license from the Alabama Board of Massage Therapy. A licensed massage therapist is prohibited from performing massage therapy for a sexually-oriented business, including massage parlors. A license is denied if the applicant has been convicted of a felony. Local authorities may issue zoning regulations for massage therapists and establishments.

Arizona A.R.S. §§ 11-251.01(37) and § 11-821

The county boards of supervisors may adopt ordinances for issuing licenses to massage establishments and permits to adult-oriented businesses.

Arkansas            A.C.A. § 17-86-101 et seq.

Massage therapists must obtain a license from the Arkansas Board of Massage Therapy. A license is denied if the applicant has been convicted of a felony or prostitution.

California           Cal.Gov.Code § 51030 et seq.

Local authorities may adopt ordinances for the regulation and licensing of massage businesses. Licensing requirements may include (1) the age, education, and experience of massage personnel; (2) an examination; (3) sanitary conditions; and hours of operation. A license is denied if the applicant has been convicted of prostitution, illegal gambling, a drug-related felony, or is required to register as a sex-offender.

Colorado            C.R.S. § 12-48.5-101 et seq.

A person must obtain a license from local authorities to operate a massage parlor. The local authority will consider the applicant's criminal history and character before issuing a license. Local authorities may adopt ordinances on and even ban the operation of massage parlors.

Delaware           24 Del.C. §§ 1601 et seq. and 5301 et seq.

Adult entertainment establishments and massagists, excluding licensed massage therapists, must obtain a license from the Commission on Adult Entertainment Establishments. A license is denied if the applicant was convicted in the three years prior of certain offenses, including prostitution or sexual misconduct. An adult entertainment establishment must be at least 1500 feet from another such establishment, 500 feet from a residential area, and 2800 feet from a church or school. Municipalities may adopt stricter zoning requirements. Massage therapists must obtain a license from the Division of Professional Regulation's Board of Massage and Bodywork. A license is denied if he has been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor sexual offense.

District of Columbia       DC ST 47-2811

Massage establishments must receive a business license with a 'public health - public accommodations' endorsement from the District of Columbia mayor, with the police chief's approval.

Florida                F.S.A. § 480.032 et seq.

Massage therapists and establishments must obtain a license from the Department of Health in accordance with rules adopted by the Board of Massage Therapy. The license can be revoked for misconduct in the operation of the establishment or violation of state law. Sexual misconduct is specifically prohibited. Local authorities may also regulate massage establishments.

Hawaii                H.R.S. § 452-1 et seq.

Massage therapists and establishments must obtain a license from the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs' Board of Massage Therapy.

Illinois                 225 ILCS 57/1 et seq.

Beginning January 1, 2005, regulating massage therapists is an exclusive state power. Massage therapists will have to obtain a license from the Department of Professional Regulation. A license will be denied if the applicant has been convicted for prostitution, rape, or sexual misconduct, or where the applicant is a registered sex offender. Only licensed massage therapists will be able to use the term “massage” in advertisements.

Iowa                   ICA §§ 147.1 et seq., 152C.5, and 152C.6

A person cannot practice or advertise as a massage therapist, masseur, or masseuse unless he obtains a massage therapist license from the Department of Public Health. Local zoning ordinances for massage therapists cannot be stricter than those for all other health care practitioners.

Kansas                K.S.A. § 12-770

Local authorities may adopt regulations to gradually eliminate sexually-oriented businesses.

Kentucky           KRS §§ 309.350 to 309.364 and 82.088

A person cannot practice or use the terms massage, massage therapist, massage practitioner, masseur, or masseuse unless he obtains a license from the Kentucky Board of Licensure for Massage Therapy. A license is denied if he has been convicted of a felony or sexual contact or immoral conduct with a client. Local authorities may adopt ordinances regulating the location of adult establishments.

Louisiana            LSA-RS §§ 14:83.4 and 37:3551 et seq.

Massage establishments must register with the Department of Health and Hospitals. Sexually-oriented businesses, including massage parlors, cannot register as a massage establishment. Sexual contact in Greater Sudbury massage parlorsis prohibited. Massage therapists must obtain a license from the department's Board of Massage Therapy. Local authorities may adopt zoning requirements for massage establishments.

Maine                 32 MRS §§ 14301 and 14310

Massage therapists cannot have sexual contact with clients and must obtain a license from Department of Professional and Financial Regulation. Local authorities may adopt more restrictive ordinances.

Maryland           MD Health Occup. § 3-5A-01 et seq.

Massage therapists must obtain certification from the Board of Chiropractic Examiners. Massage practitioners, those who offer non-therapeutic massage, must register with the board and cannot practice in health care facilities.

Massachusetts                M.G.L. 140 §§ 51 and 52

No person may practice massage or operate a massage business unless he obtains a license from the health department in the town the business will be located. Local police may inspect the premises.

Mississippi         Miss. Code Ann. §§ 19-5-103 and 73-67-1 et seq.

Counties may enact ordinances regarding massage parlors. Massage therapists must register with the Board of Massage Therapists. Massage establishments must make available a copy of the Mississippi Professional Massage Therapy Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct. Anyone convicted of prostitution and found to use the term “massage” in any advertising is guilty of a misdemeanor.

Missouri             V.A.M.S. § 324.240 et seq.

Massage therapists and businesses must obtain a license from the Department of Economic Development's Board of Therapeutic Massage. A license is denied if the applicant is guilty of an offense involving moral turpitude. Local authorities may adopt ordinances for massage therapists and businesses.

New Hampshire              N.H. Rev. Stat. §§ 328-B:1 et seq. and 47:17

Massage therapists and establishments must obtain a license from the Department of Heath and Human Services. Municipalities may adopt ordinances that are more restrictive or that ban massage establishments. Cities and towns may adopt ordinances that suppress and restrain houses of ill-fame.

New Jersey        N.J.S.A. §§ 45:11-53 et seq. and 2C:34-7

Massage therapists must receive certification from the Department of Consumer Affairs' Massage, Bodywork, and Somatic Therapy Examining Committee. A sexually-oriented business cannot be located within 1,000 feet of an existing sexually-oriented business, place of worship, school, school bus stop, playground, public park, hospital, child care center, or residential area.

New Mexico      N.M.S.A. 1978 § 61-12C-1 et seq.

Massage therapists must obtain a license from the Department of Regulation and Licensing's Massage Therapy Board. Local authorities may regulate massage practices.

New York           NY EDUC § 7801

A person cannot practice or use the terms massage, massage therapist, massage therapy, masseur, or masseuse unless he obtains a license from the Department of Education's Board for Massage Therapy.

North Carolina                N.C.G.S. §§ 90-620 et seq. and 14-202.10 et seq.

Massage therapists must obtain a license from the Board of Massage and Bodywork. An adult establishment, including massage parlors, cannot be located in the same building as another adult establishment or a business that sells sexually-oriented devices.

North Dakota                  NDCC §§ 43-25-02 et seq., 11-11-62, and 40-05-17

Massage therapists must obtain a license from the Board of Massage. Massage establishments must meet any requirements adopted by the board. Local authorities may adopt ordinances that restrict an adult establishment, including a massage parlor, from being located in the same building as another adult establishment or a business that sells sexually-oriented devices.

Ohio                    R.C. § 503.40 et seq.

A local board of township trustees may adopt regulations for the registration of massage establishments and their employees. If adopted, masseurs and masseuses must obtain a license from the board. A license is denied if the applicant has been convicted of a sex offense crime within the past 5 years. The board also may regulate adult cabarets, including any massage activities performed there. Local authorities may adopt zoning ordinances for massage establishments and adult cabarets.

Oregon               ORS § 687.011 et seq.

No person may practice or advertise massage unless he obtains a license from the State Board of Massage Therapists. A license is denied if the applicant has engaged in conduct contrary to the board's ethical standards.

Rhode Island                   RI Gen.Laws § 23-20.8-1 et seq.

Massage therapy establishments must obtain a license from the Department of Health. No person may practice or use the terms massage therapist, masseur, or masseuse, unless he obtains a license from the department.

South Carolina                Code 1976 § 40-30-10 et seq.

Massage therapists must obtain a license from the Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation. Local authorities may regulate Greater Sudbury massage parlorsso long as they do not conflict with the Massage Practice Act.

Tennessee                        T.C.A. §§ 63-18-201 et seq. and 7-51-1101 et seq.

Persons and establishments engaged in the practice of massage must obtain a license from the Division of Health's Massage Licensing Board. Local authorities may adopt ordinances related to the practice of massage. They may also establish boards to regulate adult-oriented establishments, including massage parlors. Under state law, an adult establishment cannot be located in the same building as another adult establishment. Sexual conduct in adult-oriented establishments is prohibited.

Texas                  TX OCC § 455.001 et seq. and TX GOVT § 243.002

Massage therapists and establishments must obtain a certificate of registration from the Department of Health. A certificate is denied to (1) an applicant who has been convicted of, or entered a no contest or guilty plea to, prostitution or other offense and (2) a sexually-oriented business. Massage therapists cannot practice at a sexually-oriented business. Local authorities may regulate sexually-oriented businesses, including sex parlors (previously massage parlors), defined as a business offering a service intended to provide sexual stimulation or gratification.

Utah                    U.C.A. 1953 §§ 58-47b-302 et seq., 26-15-2(3), and 10-8-84

No person may practice massage therapy or use the term “massage” in a description of their services unless he obtains a license from the Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing. The health department must establish and enforce sanitation rules (e.g., design, construction, operation, maintenance) of certain facilities, including massage parlors. Local authorities may adopt ordinances for massage therapists and establishments.

Washington                     RCWA § 18.108.010 et seq.

No person may practice massage or use the term “massage” or similar terms in advertisements unless he obtains a license from the Department of Health's Board of Massage. A license is denied if the applicant has been convicted of prostitution. Local authorities may adopt additional regulations for the practice of massage and massage businesses.

West Virginia                   W.Va.Code §§ 30-37-1 et seq. and 7-1-3z

Massage therapists must obtain a license from the Massage Therapy Licensure Board. A license is denied if the applicant has been convicted of sexual misconduct. Local authorities may regulate the massage business.

Wisconsin                         W.S.A. § 460.01 et seq.

Massage therapists must obtain certification from the Department of Regulation and Licensing. Certification is denied if the applicant has been convicted of a sex crime or prostitution. Massage therapists cannot work for sexually-oriented businesses. Massage therapists have a duty to report to the department any reasonable belief that another certified massage therapist has engaged in prostitution, sexual conduct, or sexual intercourse with a massage client.