Auburn’s massage licensing rules rub some councilors the wrong way

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AUBURN — A review of the city’s massage therapist licensing rules might trigger a harder look at all of the city’s licenses.

Councilors on Monday reviewed a proposal to exempt massage therapists from registering with the city and paying a $150 fee if they are registered with the state.

That was a problem for larger massage operations with several therapists on staff.

Acting City Manager said Revelations Massage at 600 Turner St. employs nine therapists and has plans to hire nine more. That’s the company that won last summer’s Launch LA entrepreneurial contest and Gerrish said the fees could be a burden.

The proposed rule would still require the business itself to get a city business license. Individual therapists would be exempt as long as they maintained their state licenses.

But councilors wondered if the change could be expanded to include other city license-holders.

“I understand why we have these rules come up, but we need to realize that places like Revelations are more like health care providers,” Councilor Joshua Shea said. “It seems to me if we are not holding them to the same standard — or holding them to a higher standard — I’d like to know why.”

Similar industries could include tanning salons, herbalists and nail salons, according to Councilor Tizz Crowley.

Mayor Jonathan LaBonte suggested councilors move the massage rules forward and continue a deeper review later this summer. Gerrish said staff would come back to councilors with proposals.

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