New State Law On Massage Parlors Forces Tulsa To Reconsider Ordinance

Thursday, July 21st 2016, 7:21 pm

A state law on massage parlors has invalidated local laws put in place by the City of Tulsa.

The city cracked down on massage parlors several years ago with a set of rules that made it easier to prosecute cases of prostitution.

But the legislature pre-empted that this year by changing the laws on licensing.

The conflict wasn't noticed until it was ready for the governor's signature.

The city council on Thursday was told by the city attorney that it means the city can't use local ordinances to enforce laws on massage therapy.

Police worry the change will impact their ability to control prostitution.

The city regulates both therapists and the business so they have multiple angles of attack.

The new law flat out bans cities from regulating therapists.

"The ordinance that we have on the books at the City of Tulsa has so many regulations that regulate massage therapists and in an attempt to regulate the business, say what they have to do with their employees who are massage therapists, that the entire ordinance needs to be repealed and we have to start over from scratch,” Tulsa City Attorney David O'Melia said.

The legislature put massage therapists under the state board of cosmetology and barbering.

They're supposed to come up with rules by the middle of next year, but the council plans to ask the legislature to allow cities to make their own rules.


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