There has been so much activity, both administrative and legislative, in our sector and FACTS has been “on the front lines” for all of it. Here’s an update…

As FACTS last reported, the Florida Board of Massage Therapy (“FBMT”) did pass a motion at its last meeting to increase the minimum hours for a massage program from 500 to 650 hours. But that is just the start of the process for that change to be effective. Next the FMBT attorney will draft the amended rule incorporating the amendments approved by the Board at that meeting. Then a Notice of Proposed Rule will be published in the Florida Administrative Register. There is a 21-day waiting period to allow for rule challenges and/or requests for hearings. FACTS expects the Rule to be challenged but not a valid challenge. People or entities substantially affected by the proposed Rule can only challenge on the grounds that the proposed Rule is “an invalid exercise of delegated legislative authority”. There is no basis to challenge simply because the Rule, as proposed, negatively affects your business income or structure.

If a challenge is filed, it is assigned to an administrative law judge who has 30 days to conduct a hearing and then 30 more days to publish a decision. A valid challenge can cause either a delay in the adoption of the new Rule or can quash the Rule.

Once the challenge period has ended and/or challenges are exhausted, the Rule must be sent to JAPC (Joint Administrative Procedures Committee) for review and comments. Each comment made by JAPC requires a response by the FBMT.

We are not done yet. Next the proposed Rule is sent to OFARR (Office of Fiscal Accountability & Regulatory Reform) for review, which may also provide comments to be addressed by the FBMT. When all of that is done, the Rule can be filed and becomes effective 20 days after the filing date.

So, we cannot celebrate yet. The “100% Rule” takes effect July 1, 2024. That means that for your massage program to be Pell Grant eligible, you cannot teach over the state minimum hours, which is 500 hours, until the new massage minimum program rule (at 650 hours) is effective. There will be “grandfathering” for those students already enrolled. FACTS will continue to monitor FBMT’s progress in this adoption process and will keep you advised as the July 1st deadline approaches.

FACTS continues to advocate with the Florida Department of Business and Professional Relations (“DBPR”) and its subsidiary, the Florida Board of Cosmetology (“FB of C”), to increase the program hours for Full Specialists from 400 hours to 600 hours.

To read the latest letter from FACTS to the Executive Director of DBPR click below:

FACTS has requested that this issue be on the FB of C’s agenda for its impending meeting in Cocoa beach on April 15th and 16th.

FACTS needs your voice, your presence and that of your educators, students and industry alliances at that meeting. Without immediate action being taken by the FB of C, your full-specialist program will lose eligibility for Pell Grants as of July 1, 2024.

We “lucked out” as to Florida House Bill (“HB”) 785 – to deregulate barbering and require no schooling but for the HIV/AIDS course.  That bill passed the first House committee but was never advanced by its sponsor to the two ensuing House committees.  And it was not advanced to the Senate in the final week of session.  FACTS contributes that “win” to the significant presence it had in Tallahassee when the HB was initially heard.  A big “high-five” to everyone who attended and wrote letters of support.

This bill is dead for now. But it is on FACTS’ radar.

AACS’ Hill Day in Washington D.C.

FACTS Directors Michael Halmon and Patrick Bene attended AACS’ Hill Day in Washington D.C. two weeks ago (see photo above) and met with Rep Bilirakis (FL District 12) and the staff of Rep Anna Paulina Luna (FL District 13) to share concerns about Gainful Employment and the “100% Rule”. FACTS will proactively meet with key Florida legislators this summer and fall to get ahead of the upcoming legislative session.

FACTS is still in need of a named plaintiff to challenge the 90/10 Rule. By now, most schools know if they are passing or failing 90/10. If you are failing, please consider “stepping up” to help FACTS and your fellow colleagues, students and industry allies in Florida.