Effective on July 1, 2014 any massage therapist licensed in Florida or any person with a Massage Establishment license must undergo a criminal background screening and fingerprinting before January 31, 2015. All new applicants for a massage license or massage establishment must undergo the same.
It appears that the intent behind this law is to stop or slow down human sex trafficking through the massage industry. While this is a noble cause and I applaud the efforts, I do question if the people who are committing these atrocities will actually be following the massage laws. It feels in many ways that it is only going to affect those of us who already operate within the law. Maybe I'm wrong, and please feel free to point my errors out to me on this. I'm just not one that enjoys the government making this harder for those of us who already follow the law. The Florida legislature has shown over the past few years just how unfriendly they are towards our industry.
For more information on the changes to make sure you are in compliance, go to the following website:
For FAQs on what all this means and how it impacts you, including what you need to do, go to the following website. http://floridasmassagetherapy.gov/background-screening-faqs/
You will also need a form to download which I could not find until I called the Massage Therapy Board's support line. It has the ORI number that you will read about and all the information needed when you go to get this done. The website link for this pdf form is http://floridasmassagetherapy.gov/forms/electronic-fingerprinting-form.pdf
When I went to the place to get this done the other day, it was inside a business that was a mailing service type store. It cost me $95. I did not have to make an appointment. After filling out the form at the place, I waited for about 5 minutes before my name was called. I had to review information on the screen that they had gotten from the form and my Driver's License and then sign the form.
After this, they took my head shot picture, then began to run me through the electronic fingerprint process. The whole thing took about 15 minutes. At the end, they gave me a receipt with a transaction code on it and told me that the information would be transmitted the the Florida Department of Health within 24 to 72 hours.
I'm not sure if there is any way I can check to make sure it is actually submitted. No information was given or addressed on this subject. I asked if I could have a copy of the information submitted and they said no. The business establishment I went to in order to get this done was not exactly in the best place of a city near me. They weren't exactly the nicest or most helpful. It was just a task they were doing and getting paid well to do it in my view.
Anyway, that is my experience with it. If I find out any further information, I will update this blog post. I would not wait until January 31, 2015 to do it and please realize that its going to cost some money. I'm not sure if every place costs $95 or not. Hopefully this requirement is now done for me and it is one less thing I have to be concerned with.
I just wish the Florida legislature would begin to see this industry in a better light. Yes, I know there are bad people in it, but instead of penalizing the good ones, I would love to see them enforce the laws for massage therapy. It isn't hard for me to go to Craigslist.com and see the unlicensed sexual activity taking place like it is legitimate massage. It isn't hard for me to drive down a street and see what is going on in some of these places. Yet, I see the state of Florida doing very little to enforce the laws and that saddens me. If I can see it, surely someone with law enforcement training can see it.
Blog Post And Images (c) 8/17/14 by Don Shetterly
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