JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – A bill that would eliminate licensing requirements for certain professions is moving forward at the State Capitol. The bill moved forward to the Mississippi Senate on Tuesday.
House Speaker Philip Gunn authored House Bill 1315, which would eliminate licensing requirements for art therapists, auctioneers, and massage therapists. The bill has received an unwavering response, particularly from health professionals.
Health professionals said the bill would pose a threat to public safety and open doors to injuries without the proper schooling, including a spike in human trafficking.
Suzie Foote is the wife of Jackson City Councilman Ashby Foote, and she is a former spa director. She said while she appreciated the attempts of the bill to open the free market, she said she “can’t image trying to hire an unlicensed, marginally trained massage therapist.”
Foote said, “Then you take a group of people that have zero training and can just walk in off the street, you’re kicking a hornet’s nest there. I don’t think you want the damage that those folks can do.”
According to the American Massage Therapy Association, massage therapy requires 700 hours from an accredited school, in addition to CPR and first aid. Forty-four states require a license to work as a massage therapist.
Mississippi is listed as the 46th most burdensome state for licensing laws, according to data from the Institute for Justice.