General Assembly passes massage parlor bills

PROVIDENCE, R.I (WPRI) – The General Assembly has passed a bill that would allow cities and towns to regulate massage parlors and services within their borders.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Carlos E. Tobon and Sen. James E. Doyle II, addresses concerns of several business owners who are concerned that the legislation would have affected their legal and licensed massage practices.

It’s in response to Pawtucket’s on-going battle against unregulated massage parlors or “body-works” spas that police believe are fronts for illegal sex trafficking and prostitution operations.

The City of Pawtucket had passed an ordinance calling for the proper licensing and public-health regulation of such establishments.

Earlier this month, a Superior Court judge ruled that the city did not have the legal authority to uphold such an ordinance and that enabling legislation from the General Assembly was necessary.

The bill now heads to Governor Raimondo’s desk for action.

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