CASPER, Wyo. — Casper Mayor Steve Freel said at a Tuesday, July 28 work session that he has been approached by people working in the massage therapy community who are hoping to establish licensing requirements in the City of Casper for their industry.
“We’ve got to face the fact that we have massage therapists that work in the industry of assisting people medically,” Freel said. “And then we have massage therapists that work in an entertainment industry, if you will. I’ll put it that way.”
Freel said the people who approached him are looking for an ordinance which would require massage therapists to attend accredited institutions and be licensed as massage therapists and would require the businesses themselves to be licensed.
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He noted that the Casper area has dealt with location like the Tokyo Massage in years past. The Casper Star-Tribune reported in 2009 that an investigation into Tokyo Massage led to some prostitution, solicitation and promoting prostitution convisitions.
“We still [have], I can tell you, three different location we talked about today that are not legitimate massage therapist businesses,” Freel said. “I think that by requiring a license of these business, it is a different way of addressing the illegal activity that is taking place.”
“Right now, short of having law enforcement do undercover stings or have [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] go in and take care of the problem, the problem will still persist.”
Freel said that requiring licences is common practice in other fields like cosmetology or real estate.
“They are wanting to put an ordinance in place and work with the health department to legitimize the business,” he added.
Vice Mayor Khrystyn Lutz said that Mosaic Massage College in Casper are working toward becoming accredited to offer training and licensing to people learning to become massage therapists.
Freel said that several doctors have also indicated support for the proposals and that the Casper-Natrona County Health Department (CNCHD) would be part of the conversation as Casper considers new rules.
In April 2019, the CNCHD Board of Health heard a similar proposal to require massage therapy licenses. Natrona County Health Officer Dr. Mark Dowell said at that meeting he would support exploring the idea, noting that his own patients were increasingly turning to message therapy for as a way to treat conditions.
The health board asked that they be presented with more research on requirements in other places such as Colorado. Freel noted on Tuesday that there had been a movement in 2019 to require massage licensing statewide, but that the movement had largely stalled.
“That’s why we’re taking a run at it here,” he said.
The council agreed to add the topic to their Aug. 11 work session where they will discuss the proposal further.
If you would like to contact members of the Casper City Council regarding this or any other issue, here is their contact information:
Mayor Steve Freel (Ward III, Term expires 1/3/23):
- (307) 259-1276
Vice Mayor Khrystyn Lutz (Ward I, Term expires 1/3/23):
- (307) 359-3673
Councilman Charlie Powell (Ward II, Term Expires 1/5/21):
- (307) 577-6042
Councilman Shawn Johnson (Ward II, Term expires 1/3/23):
- (307) 337-5057
- (307) 277-7377
Councilman Ken Bates (Ward II, Term expires 1/5/21):
- (307) 473-1247
Councilman Steve Cathey (Ward III, Term Expires 1/5/21):
- (307) 262-8237
Councilman Bob Hopkins (Ward I, Term expires 1/5/21):
- (307) 472-1837
Councilman Mike Huber (Ward I, Term expires 1/5/21):
- (307) 266-4188
Councilman Ray Pacheco (Ward III, Term expires 1/3/23):
- (307) 258-1226
Council members can also be reached by mail at: 200 N. David Street, 82601
If you would like to contact members in your specific ward, but don’t know which ward you are in, a map is available at the City of Casper’s website.