Government Relations

Welcome to the Government Relations Committee!

Our goal is to stay up to date on current State laws and city ordinances that affect you, the Licensed Massage Therapist. Currently, the RI Department of Health holds our license to practice, requiring a minimum of 500 hour course from an accredited school, First Aid and CPR Certification.

In 2009 the State of Rhode Island discontinued to hold the Massage Therapy Establishment License, holding the Licensed Massage Therapist to comply with town and city ordinances. In most cases this was a seamless transition. However, for the other cities with outdated ordinances, it has been a difficult process to open a business or to move a current business within that cities limits. The Government Relations Committee is dedicated to finding solutions for the Licensed Massage Therapists that work in these cities. We are also dedicated to working with the cities to help them understand our business needs and also the need to have Massage Therapy available to the community.

Come join our team!

RI State Regulations
RI Application for Massage Therapy License


Government Relations Chairperson

Cassie Rawcliffe



The Government Relations team is here to help with questions or issues relating to how our profession is impacted by laws: Government, State and Municipal. We work with the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) Governance team on your behalf.

The National AMTA office provides us with monthly reports on legislation across the country. This link will take you to that site. The team reviews the legislation in our local region to see how it will impact the our members. We also have members that read the newspaper for local news that may impact us. When a call to action is needed we alert the membership via email constant contact. We provide official reports here on this website.

This web page is a resource for massage therapists, it is a work in progress. You will find a link to the Rhode Island Massage Therapy Practice Act 23-20.8 and Rules and Regulations for Licensing Massage Therapists R23-20.0-MA. It is good to review both and have a clear knowledge of the definition of our practice as defined by the State of Rhode Island. See RESOURCE page for detailed information.

This web page also provides a list of Rhode Island local municipal ordinances. The list of ordinances is a work in progress, it is alphabetical and contains a link to the official municipal website. If we have a link to specific massage therapy ordinances it will be provided. Some municipalities have very specific massage therapy or body work establishment ordinances. While others only provide zoning regulations for massage practices. In either case you will need to contact the town clerk to get direction regarding official paperwork needed to establish a business. Each municipalities ordinances are different, if you are planning to open a business it is important to research these first. Some towns will restrict the profession via zoning laws. Be prepared to present your Rhode Island Massage Therapy License as proof you are a licensed massage therapist and not a body worker. Massage therapists are body workers, but their is a defined difference for the purposes of establish a business. Please review the Massage Therapy Practice Act to understand the legal differences. If you have questions we will do our best to help point you in the right direction.

We have a Professional Board of Massage Therapy in Rhode Island. If you would like information regarding the Massage Therapy Examining Board please connect to this link.

Government Relations Team members: Cassie Rawcliffe, Joanne Lozy, Frank Rapone, Kim Cook, Angela Perry-Place Regina Cobb, Jenny Xie, Michaele Colizza, Debbie Kilty, Suzanne Wilcox.


Proposed Changes to Licensing



The new legislation, is available here:, would only allow city/town regulation of UNLICENSED bodyworks establishments. Licensed massage therapists would NOT be subject to this further city regulation.  This legislation has passed the House and Senate.

House Bill 7007 was signed into effect by Governor Raimondo  7/2016.


In the past, news regarding Government Relations was distributed to the membership in the AMTA – RI Newsletter.

A new procedure will be implemented starting now. It will include the following methods:

  • Our e-blast system will be used to notify members when there is important information that affects our livelihood.
  • It will be marked Government Relations and if urgent (like our last E-blast), it will be marked URGENT. We will only send out e-blasts marked Government Relations when it’s important.
  • E-blast’s and the AMTA-RI chapter website will also be used to provide follow up information with the National AMTA’s guidelines of 72 hours.
  • Information about State wide legislation is published monthly on the National AMTA website and is also sent to RI Government Relations members from National.

National AMTA does not have the resources to regulate local cities and towns. This is where your help is needed. AMTA – RI Government Relations is a volunteer driven group. We do not have the ability or manpower to monitor all 39 municipalities. The reason we knew Providence was creating a bodywork ordinance, two years ago, was because a member brought it to our attention.

“We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided.”
~ Albus Dumbledore (Harry Potter)

This needs to be a group effort. Keep abreast of what is happening in you local towns. It is likely many of the cities and towns may be following in the steps of Providence, Coventry, Pawtucket, Cranston and Central Falls, once the Bodyworks Legislation is reworked and put through the House and Senate.

We need to make sure the local municipalities put a clause exempting therapist covered under TITLE 23-20.8 into those new ordinances. This is a link to your Massage Therapy License Act TITLE 23-20.8.

RI Bill Tracker Update Alert


1) Senate Bill No. 2699
BY Doyle
ENTITLED, AN ACT RELATING TO HEALTH AND SAFETY – LICENSING OF MASSAGE THERAPISTS (Enables any city or town by ordinance to regulate the opening, the presence, the location, and operation of any massage business or parlor within the municipality.)
03/08/2016 Introduced, referred to Senate Health and Human Services
03/25/2016 Scheduled for hearing and/or consideration (03/29/2016)
03/25/2016 Scheduled for hearing and/or consideration (03/31/2016)
03/31/2016 Committee recommended measure be held for further study

2) House Bill No. 7007 SUB A
BY Tobon,Barros,Melo,Abney,Kazarian
ENTITLED, AN ACT RELATING TO HEALTH AND SAFETY – LICENSING OF MASSAGE THERAPISTS (Enables any city or town by ordinance to regulate the opening, the presence, the location, and operation of any massage business or parlor within the municipality.)
01/06/2016 Introduced, referred to House Corporations
01/21/2016 Scheduled for hearing and/or consideration (01/26/2016)
01/26/2016 Committee recommended measure be held for further study
03/18/2016 Scheduled for consideration (03/22/2016)
03/22/2016 Committee recommends passage of Sub A
03/24/2016 Placed on House Calendar (03/29/2016)
03/29/2016 House voted to recommit to House Corporations



We have answers to the questions that arose at the October 20, 2013 General Meeting regarding the new Massage Therapist Law and the Affordable Care Act. Please continue to read below as well for additional information regarding these issues.


Affordable Care Act

Here is AMTA’s comment on the Affordable Care Act. Please remember that in the State of Rhode Island, the practice of massage is still regulated as a business and service and is not recognized as a health care modality.

Message regarding the new Massage Therapist Law


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