Massages

Fargo commission delays vote on controversial massage ordinance – INFORUM

Summary

FARGO — Action was delayed on a decision to begin a Fargo massage therapy establishment program on Monday, Nov. 15.

The city attorney’s office requested the delay on the day of the City Commission meeting because they wanted to check on details in the ordinance before a preliminary vote on the issue.

However, Fargo Cass Pubic Health Director of Environmental Health Grant Larson stre…….

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FARGO — Action was delayed on a decision to begin a Fargo massage therapy establishment program on Monday, Nov. 15.

The city attorney’s office requested the delay on the day of the City Commission meeting because they wanted to check on details in the ordinance before a preliminary vote on the issue.

However, Fargo Cass Pubic Health Director of Environmental Health Grant Larson stressed in an initial presentation on the proposed ordinance to the city commissioners that unlicensed massage businesses don’t face any inspections or regulations.

He said the North Dakota Board of Massage Therapy only inspects and works with licensed therapists of which there are about 750 statewide and an estimated 65 massage establishments in the city.

Thus, Larson said, to address an inspection process to regulate those with unlicensed individuals, the city needs to adopt the ordinance.

Yet, most licensed therapists in the city, who undergo extensive training, still remain opposed to the measure as their state board has handled the inspections and regulations for 62 years. They also argue their services are medical in nature and that doctors are regulated by state boards for any complaints.

Larson said the history behind beginning the program dates back almost two years to January of 2020 after letters were sent to the mayor and police chief requesting regulation of unlicensed individuals after concerns were raised about human trafficking that involve sexual favors at unlicensed businesses.

The catch, though, is that the proposed program also starts new regulations, at-will inspections and $100 license fees for the licensed therapists, which they oppose.

The licensed businesses point out they face inspections from the state board, although estimates are that only about 10% are inspected each year, Larson said.

The new ordinance doesn’t affect in-home massage operations, he noted.

A public hearing will be a part of any further votes on the measure. The ordinance is expected to be on the agenda for the next City Commission meeting on Nov. 29.

Source: https://www.inforum.com/news/government-and-politics/7287510-Fargo-commission-delays-vote-on-controversial-massage-ordinance