Lobbying 101: How Massage Therapists Can Make an Impact
Published on February 14, 2013 by Peter Tomala
Proposed changes to the Massage Therapy Practice Act are believed to come out in 2014, but the opportunity to have input into the law starts now. Change doesn’t need to come from a big lobbying group though; each person can have an impact on the proposal, which is quite easy to do. At its roots, lobbying is what gives citizens a voice in the legislative process.
According to Broadview University’s government relations director, Bob Trewartha, there are four basic steps anyone can follow to have an influence in legislation.
- Become informed on the issue
- Find out who your legislator is
– Check out the state’s easy to use website
- Draft and send a letter
– Make it short and ask for something. In this case, ask your legislature to consider alternatives to the American Massage Therapy Association’s proposal. Or, tell them to support it as is.
– Never accuse them or write a negative letter
– Include your name and address
- Follow-up with a personal visit, phone call or email
“Legislators are super busy and have 1,000 different bills, people and points of view coming at them,” says Trewartha. “Don’t be frustrated; there is power in numbers and even one letter can make a difference.”
The idea is to write and talk with the legislators that are in your district. It will also be important to try and contact the head of the committee that oversees the bill. In the case of the Massage Therapy Practice Act, the bill will be heard by the Health and Human Services Committee. Paul Ray is the Chairman of the committee and any letter to him can make an impact.
Aside from contacting legislators, working with any professional organization, such as The Utah Chapter of the American Massage Therapy Association, will help individuals create influence.
“Self-management of our professional organizing body is important,” says licensed massage therapist Kelley Sloan, who is also the chair of Broadview University’s massage therapist school. “If you have a voice or an opinion, it should be known; participate in the dialogue because you are affected by it.”
Below are key people to contact in regard to the proposed changes to the Massage Therapy Practice Act:
Representative Paul Ray
Chairman of Health and Human Services Committee