Posts Tagged ‘amendment to Massage Establishment Act’

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Is this where you want to go for your massage? Image by dumin via Flickr

By Sue Shekut, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

I was in error when I wrote last month that the city of Chicago had defeated the amendment to the Massage Establishment Act. According to the American Massage Therapy Therapy Association (AMTA). The amendment was not defeated, it was tabled for a vote on May 12. So, once again I am calling on you to take a few minutes or email or call your Alderman/woman. I am providing the latest info from the AMTA’s website below along with contact info for Chicago alderman. (Read my original blog post about this issue  here.)

Say “NO” to restrictive zoning! Say YES to better licensing and enforcement!!

It is rare in the Chicago City Council that an alderman gets an ordinance out of committee, only to have it blocked on the floor of the city council as happened on April 14th. Invoking an absolute right of parliamentary rule and exercising tremendous amount of political courage, Aldermen Joe Moore (49th Ward), Mary Ann Smith (48th Ward) and Brendan Reilly (42nd Ward) joined together to “defer and publish”. . . Kudos to Moore, Smith and Reilly! The ordinance will come up for a full vote again at the next Chicago City Council meeting on May 12th. All 50 aldermen in the city of Chicago must hear from us!

The amendment is now slated to come up again for a full vote before the full Chicago City Council on Wednesday, May 12th to immediately enact the ordinance.


Before Tuesday, May 11, please call, e-mail and write to the alderman where you live, work or patronize a massage therapy clinic !

We really need YOUR help, fellow Chicagoans! Please take just a few minutes to call or email your alderman or alderwoman today. Ask them to support legitimate, licensed massage therapists and local economies citywide and Vote NO to this amendment to the zoning ordinance!

Here is a sample email from the AMTA you can cut and paste or use and modify in your own words:

“As a client of a legitimate massage therapy business and your constituent in the (#) Ward, I am writing to voice my opposition to the recent amendment to the City of Chicago Zoning Ordinance that would redistrict “Massage Establishments” out of B-1 and B-2 zoning districts to B-3 and “C” zoning districts as sponsored by Alderman Ray Suarez of the 31st ward.

While I applaud the alderman’s effort to address the problems of illicit activity, the current direction is misguided. First, the amendment is confusing licensed massage therapy with prostitution and adult entertainment. It clearly discriminates against legitimate massage therapists and businesses that offer licensed massage therapy as a primary practice or ancillary service. Further, it is the ONLY professional service that is being singled out. Could illicit activity not happen in a spa, salon or doctor’s office?

Second, licensed massage therapy is recognized as a legitimate profession by the National League of Cities, of which Chicago is a member. It is a licensed profession in the State of Illinois that is protected by The Massage Licensing Act. This over-arching attempt by government to move practitioners and consumers of licensed massage therapy into zoning districts that strike no parity with the needs of small business owners and consumers sends a message that Chicago is out of touch. It communicates that Chicago is unfriendly to small businesses and unsympathetic to those desiring close proximity to the small businesses that serve and support their local economies.

Third, the amendment as proposed, still does not address the issue of mitigating illicit activity; it merely codifies illegal activity, by moving it slightly away from the periphery of public view and flat-out sends a skewed message that the city is not in fact interested in eradicating this kind of crime.

Since the amendment was passed out of committee on April 12th, overt efforts and attempts by the American Massage Therapy Association-Illinois Chapter have been made to reach a fair and amenable solution, including the draft of a Fair Practice Act and a Model Ordinance. Today, we all stand in solidarity with many local chambers of commerce, other allied professionals and consumers.

This matter is scheduled to come before the City Council on May 12th, 2010. I am requesting that you allow common sense to prevail, exercise the same political courage of Aldermen Moore, Smith (48) and Reilly, and that you vote NO to this amendment.


Feel free to cut and paste our sample email or write your own. I appreciate your help on this important issue!

City of Chicago Alderman Names and Emails by Ward

1st Ward Proco Joe Moreno ward01@cityofchicago.org
2nd Ward Robert Fioretti ward02@cityofchicago.org
3rd Ward Pat Dowell Pat.Dowell@cityofchicago.org
4th Ward Toni Preckwinkle tpreckwinkle@cityofchicago.org
5th Ward Leslie Hairston lhairston@cityofchicago.org
6th Ward Freddrenna Lyle flyle@cityofchicago.org
7th Ward Sandi Jackson Sandi.Jackson@cityofchicago.org
8th Ward Michelle Harris mharris@cityofchicago.org
9th Ward Anthony Beale abeale@cityofchicago.org
10th Ward John Pope jpope@cityofchicago.org
11th Ward James Balcer jbalcer@cityofchicago.org
12th Ward George Cardenas ward12@cityofchicago.org
13th Ward Frank Olivo (Zoning Committee Member) folivo@cityofchicago.org
Ward Phone: (773) 581-8000  City Hall Phone: (312) 744-3076
14th Ward Edward Burke (Zoning Committee Member) eburke@cityofchicago.org
Ward Phone: 773-471-1414  City Hall Phone: 312-744-3380
15th Ward Toni Foulkes Toni.Foulkes@cityofchicago.org
16th Ward JoAnn Thompson JoAnn.Thompson@cityofchicago.org
17th Ward Latasha Thomas (Zoning Committee Member) lrthomas@cityofchicago.org
Ward Phone: 773-723-0908 City Hall Phone: 312-744-7738
18th Ward Lona Lane ward18@cityofchicago.org
19th Ward Virginia Rugai vrugai@cityofchicago.org
20th Ward Willie Cochran Willie.Cochran@cityofchicago.org
21st Ward Howard Brookins ward21@cityofchicago.org
22nd Ward Ricardo Munoz rmunoz@cityofchicago.org
23rd Ward Michael Zalewski mzalewski@cityofchicago.org
24th Ward Sharon Dixon Sharon.Dixon@cityofchicago.org
25th Ward Daniel Solis (Zoning Committee Chair) dsolis@cityofchicago.org
Ward Phone: (773) 523-4100 City Hall Phone: (312) 744-6845
26th Ward Roberto Maldonado Contact by Phone 773 395-0143
27th Ward Walter Burnett wburnett@cityofchicago.org
28th Ward Ed Smith (Zoning Committee Member) ehsmith@cityofchicago.org
29th Ward Deborah Graham Contact by Phone (312) 744-8805
30th Ward Ariel Reboyras ward30@cityofchicago.org
31st Ward Ray Suarez (Zoning Committee Member that sponsored amendment) rsuarez@cityofchicago.org
Ward Phone: (773) 486-6488 City Hall Phone: (312) 744-6102
32nd Ward Scott Waguespack ward32@cityofchicago.org
33rd Ward Richard Mell rmell@cityofchicago.org
34th Ward Carrie Austin (Zoning Committee Member) caustin@cityofchicago.org
Ward Phone: (773) 928-6961 City Hall Phone: (312) 744-6820
35th Ward Ray Colon (Zoning Committee Member) ward35@cityofchicago.org
Ward Phone: (773) 365-3535 City Hall Phone: (312) 744-6835
36th Ward John Rice Contact by Phone 773)622-3232
37th Ward Emma Mitts emitts@cityofchicago.org
38th Ward Thomas Allen (Zoning Committee Member) tallen@cityofchicago.org
Ward Phone: (773) 545-3838 City Hall Phone: (312) 744-6811
39th Ward Margaret Laurino (Zoning Committee Member) mlaurino@cityofchicago.org
Ward Phone: (773) 736-5594 City Hall Phone: (312) 744-7242
40th Ward Patrick O’Connor pjoconnor@cityofchicago.org
41st Ward Brian Doherty bdoherty@cityofchicago.org
42nd Ward Brendan Reilly Brendan.Reilly@cityofchicago.org
43rd Ward Vi Daley (Zoning Committee Member) vdaley@cityofchicago.org
Ward Phone: (773) 327-9111 City Hall Phone: (312) 744-3071
44th Ward Thomas Tunney ttunney@cityofchicago.org
45th Ward Patrick Levar plevar@cityofchicago.org
46th Ward Helen Shiller hshiller@cityofchicago.org
47th Ward Eugene Schulter (Zoning Committee Member) ward47@cityofchicago.org
Ward Phone: 773-348-8400 City Hall Phone: 312-744-3180
48th Ward Mary Ann Smith msmith@cityofchicago.org
49th Ward Joe Moore ward49@cityofchicago.org
50th Ward Bernard Stone (Zoning Committee Member) bstone@cityofchicago.org
Ward Phone: 773-764-5050 City Hall Phone: 312-744-6855
Note: Ald. Bernard Stone (50th Ward)  is the only Committee member that was opposed to the ordinance.  Thank you Alderman Stone!!!!!

A Better Idea For Massage In Chicago

In the meantime, the AMTA-IL Government Relations Committee is finalizing language for a model ordinance that would require massage therapy establishments to submit proof of state licensure when applying for business licenses or renewal (currently not done), and levying substantial fines for violations (also not currently done). Members of the Zoning Committee and a City Commissioner want to partner with the AMTA to address the issues of illicit activity in their wards without discriminating against licensed massage therapists and legitimate massage therapy establishments.

The AMTA proposal is designed to protect the public from illegal massage “parlors” without adversely effecting the business of legitimate massage therapists. But this proposal will likely fall on deaf ears if the current nonsensical and damaging amendment to the Massage Establishment Act passes on Wednesday, May 12.

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