Public Hearing: Why MA Bill S. 168 Matters to ALL MA Residents
In this post:
- A synopsis of MA Bill S 168
- Why This Matters
- My Views on WHY I oppose
- Public Hearing Information
- Issues list
- Addresses for Legislators
A Synopsis of MA Bill S 168
A hearing date, OCTOBER 28TH, has been announced for Mass bill S 168
“An Act Regulating Bodyworks” under the guise of preventing sex trafficking.
Who will be joining me at the public hearing on Monday, October 28th in Boston, MA? This is not just about reiki. This bill affects:
- meditation centers
- Buddhist centers
- martial arts
- thai chi
- psychic mediums
- spiritual centers
- wellness professionals
- professional caregivers
- indigenous shamanic healing
- death doulas
- hospice volunteers
- vulnerable populations – homeless, those face with addictions, senior citizens, low income, victims of rape, sexual assault, domestic violence, terminally ill, immigrant populations dependent on THEIR own cultural practices.
- basically ANYONE who does ANYTHING that alters chi using word or touch. That is the entire population!
S.168 is a bill that has been filed in the Massachusetts legislature by Senator Montigny under the guise of a solution to end human trafficking.
The bill, if passed, would require professional licensure for more than 200 alternative and complementary holistic modalities, and offers no direct route to licensure.
There is NO grandfather clause for seasoned well established practitioners in any of these modalities
In addition, S.168 would dramatically reduce healthcare options for the citizens of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Considering that I have personally witnessed healing in people where our broken healthcare failed except driving up immense healthcare costs to those individuals including myself into the $100,000’s and creating a culture of addiction.
The bill redefines holistic healthcare occupations as bodywork and affects all modalities that direct movement or work with energy aka “chi” (1). The bill proposes a Board of Massage Therapy and Bodywork that would have 3 massage therapists and two bodywork professionals on it.
These two body workers would have to set the educational requirements of more than 200 holistic disciplines and spiritually based practices that are the religions for many in the Commonwealth.
In addition, you can only become licensed if you take courses at “state licensed schools“. There are currently no state licensed schools that offer courses in the majority of these disciplines.
How You Can Help SAVE:
REIKI & OTHER spiritual based healing and/or holistic health modalities in Massachusetts:
Why This Matters
If this bill were to pass, it would become ILLEGAL for anyone to practice Reiki, any spiritual or professional practice that can alter “Chi” without a license.
Those receiving volunteer services through hospice, hospitals, non-profits, elder care, etc will NO longer be able to provide these services for a variety of reasons as listed in this post.
LICENSES ARE EXPENSIVE and Practitioners including volunteers need to start your education AGAIN FROM SCRATCH. Considering the MAJORITY of practitioners are VOLUNTEER, this would be devastating to those receiving as mentioned earlier.
WE NEED YOUR HELP TO STOP THIS HORRIBLE BILL!
Not enough practitioners and/or receivers/benefactors of these modalities have taken the time to contact their legislators.
It is CRUCIAL FOR YOU TO ACT NOW.
Speaking as a survivor of rape and domestic abuse who was subsequently diagnosed with CPTSD taking decades to reclaim my life as well as someone with years doing advocacy work in Massachusetts for victims, SADLY THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH SEX TRAFFICKING AND WON’T STOP IT.
I’ve met personally with several state senators and representatives who agree that this bill will NOT do as promoted. It is a shame that the propaganda sold to Massachusetts residents is that if you do not support this bill, then you are harming victims of sex trafficking. THIS IS FAR FROM THE TRUTH.
I have worked with survivors in varying capacity for over 14 years. Yes, there needs to be better laws to protect victims, but how do we legislate bad behavior, colonization mentality of women, young girls, and children when the laws currently on the books are NOT enforced?
This is a regulatory bill to regulate “Chi”(1) through the use of word or touch. How does one regulate “chi”? Really? When we think about this, this is frightening to me and very triggering to someone who is a trauma survivor who depended upon these very practices to SAVE MY OWN LIFE when our traditional healthcare model almost killed me and caused more harm.
In my opinion as a survivor of abuse and rape, advocate, and healer, this is a slap in our faces. This is a gross form of systemic abuse to every victim who has ever been abused or raped.
I have personally dedicated the last 14 years of my healing Journey and helping other survivors of abuse to heal in a variety ways where AGAIN our system FAILED.
I see predatory behavior quite easily AND THIS BILL is PREDATORY.
The state does not have the expertise to set the curriculum of more than 200 disciplines that derive from various “culturally appropriated indigenous and non-colonized foreign cultures” . The American collegiate system is NOT a leading authority in these practices. Those with bloodlines from these cultures who apprenticed students into teachers over YEARS of dedication and training ARE the leading authority.
This in my view is also another attempt to “COLONIZE” sacred teachings further causing irreparable harm to many spiritual based, indigenous, and immigrant cultures not to mention it is racist when you look at the origins of these modalities and who their real targets are.
S.168 would arbitrarily and inaccurately redefine hundreds of holistic occupations as bodywork. The broad definition of bodywork affects more than 200 diverse disciplines and professions and many thousands of practitioners (many of whom are women) who now provide for their families working in this field.
Due to the restrictive standards set forth in the bill, many will be forced to close their doors, adversely impacting their household and children and increasing unemployment claims and WELFARE assistance increasing the burden on taxpayers.
S.168 would dramatically reduce citizen options for tens of thousands infringing on freedom of choice.
The proposed board of massage therapy and bodyworkers only has 2 bodyworkers to represent more than 200 holistic professions.
You can only become licensed if you take courses at state licensed schools. There are no state licensed schools that offer training in all these disciplines.
The state does not have the expertise nor are the leading authorities to set the curriculum of more than 200 disciplines as stated above earlier.
Why bodywork licensure is not a viable approach to addressing human trafficking:
Contrary to the Massachusetts Interagency Human Trafficking Policy Task Force recommendations, S.168 seeks to reduce human trafficking supply through occupational licensure rather than reducing the demand for human trafficking through enforcement of existing “John laws” or the
promulgation of sensible new laws.
Occupational licensing has not been recommended in the Uniform Act on Prevention of and Remedies for Human Trafficking drafted by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws in 2013; or by the US Department of State (see ’15 Ways You Can Help Fight Human Trafficking’}
The National Human Trafficking database reports only 4 cases of human trafficking in Massachusetts at illicit massage spas. There is no accurate data on the number of human trafficking cases at illicit massage spas in MA as many counties combine prostitution cases with human trafficking cases when reporting data.
What YOU Can Do:
LEGISLATORS NEED TO HEAR FROM YOU NOW.
The fate of Reiki and ALL spiritually based integrative healing, holistic health, spiritual practices, martial arts is in YOUR hands.
- Attend the Public Hearing and give support to the individuals testifying. (We need a very large crowd to attend to show a strong opposition)
- Give oral testimony which is limited to three minutes in length in opposition to S.168. (See attached Giving Testimony Instructions and Testimony Worksheet)
- Prepare written testimony and submit it at the Public Hearing.
- Prepare written testimony and email it to the Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure (email addresses below):
Email addresses of the Joint Committee on Consumer Protection &
firstname.lastname@example.org ; Tackey.Chan@mahouse.gov ;
James.Welch@masenate.gov ;Jay.Livingstone@mahouse.gov ;
Diana.DiZoglio@masenate.gov ; Barry.Finegold@masenate.gov ;
Ryan.Fattman@masenate.gov ; Jon.Zlotnik@mahouse.gov ;
Adrian.Madaro@mahouse.gov ; William.Driscoll@mahouse.gov ;
email@example.com ;firstname.lastname@example.org ;
email@example.com ; Jack.Lewis@mahouse.gov ;
You may also include the bill sponsors:
Mark.Montigny@masenate.gov ; firstname.lastname@example.org ;
Alicia.Rebello-Pradas@state.ma.us ;Patricia.Haddad@mahouse.gov ;
Michael.Moore@masenate.gov ; Jason.Lewis@masenate.gov ;
Danielle.Gregoire@mahouse.gov ; Antonio.Cabral@mahouse.gov ;
email@example.com ;Steven.Ultrino@mahouse.gov ;
Patrick.OConnor@masenate.gov ; Mike.Barrett@masenate.gov ;
Becca.Rausch@masenate.gov ; Walter.Timilty@masenate.gov ;
Sal.DiDomenico@masenate.gov ;Joan.Lovely@masenate.gov ;
Hearing Date: Monday, October 28
Hearing Time: 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Hearing Location: Gardiner Auditorium
Boston State House
24 Beacon Street
Boston, MA 02133
- Chi definition; Merriam Webster Dictionary ; Noun (often capitalized); “vital energy that is held to animate the body internally and is of central importance in some Eastern systems of medical treatment (such as acupuncture) and of exercise or self-defense (such as tai chi) “ – Chinese (Beijing) qì, literally, air, breath