City Council Meeting: June 23, 2009

Agenda Item: 7-A

To:                   Mayor and City Council

From:              Marsha Jones Moutrie, City Attorney

Subject:          Proposed Ordinance Amending the City’s Massage Regulations to Comply with New State Law



Recommended Action

Staff recommends that the City Council introduce for first reading the attached ordinance updating the City’s massage regulations to conform to new State law and making other minor changes to enhance clarity and promote safety.


Executive Summary

In 2008, the State of California adopted Senate Bill 731, which was codified in Chapter 10.5 (commencing with Section 4600) of Division 2 of the California Business and Professions Code, and regulates massage therapy.  Senate Bill 731 becomes effective on September 1, 2009.  The attached, proposed ordinance would amend Chapter 6.104 of the Santa Monica Municipal Code, which contains the City’s massage regulations, to conform to the new State requirements.  It would also require that all doors at massage establishments be unlocked during business hours to ensure fire safety.  Additionally, it would require all Operators to report a full list of all employees by the 5th working day of each calendar month.  Finally, minor changes in wording are proposed to enhance clarity.



SB 731 provides for, but does not require State certification for massage technicians; allows cities to require that technicians obtain State certification; and limits cities' ability to require State certified massage technicians to obtain additional licenses, permits, or other authorization.  It further limits cities' ability to apply zoning, building, or other physical facility requirements to certain massage establishments, unless such requirements are generally applicable to all other professional or personal services businesses.




The proposed ordinance modifies the City’s massage ordinance to provide that State certified massage technicians are exempt from the City’s permit requirements and application process.  The proposed ordinance further provides that State certified massage technicians and certain massage establishments are exempt from specific City massage regulations.  These proposed changes are recommended to conform to the new State law.


The proposed ordinance does not require massage technicians to obtain State certification.  Rather, it retains the City’s presently existing massage regulations for any massage technician without State certification, and for any massage establishment that employs massage technicians without State certification to provide massage services. Thus, the proposed ordinance retains the maximum enforcement authority that the City can lawfully exercise under the new requirements of SB 731.


Additionally, the proposed ordinance includes two substantive changes: (1) Current law allows locked exterior doors during business operations; the proposed law would require all doors to be unlocked for fire safety.  (2) Current law requires Operators to list all persons working at the Massage Establishment at the time they apply for an Operator's Permit; the proposed law would additionally require the Operator to submit a current list each month.


Finally, various changes in wording are posed to enhance clarity.



As an alternative to adopting the proposed ordinance, the City can instead require all massage technicians to obtain State certification, and relinquish control to the State.




Financial Impacts

The Finance Department has determined that adoption of the proposed ordinance would not, in itself, have any budget impacts.  Costs of administration would vary depending upon enforcement efforts. 




Prepared by:           Roger C. Rees, Deputy City Attorney


Attached:                  PROPOSED ORDINANCE




Forwarded to Council:




__________________________________          ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­______________________________________

Marsha Jones Moutrie                                         P. Lamont Ewell

City Attorney                                                  City Manager