Council committee passes measure regulating massage businesses

The City Council’s Regulatory, Energy & Environment Committee passed a proposal Monday requiring all massage and bodywork businesses in the city to be licensed.

The measure — authored by Council Member Elizabeth Glidden (8th Ward) — is an attempt to crack down on massage parlors that serve as fronts for prostitution rings.

If approved by the full Council, the license fee for commercial massage/bodywork businesses would be $140 and $50 for home-based businesses or a single operator.

In a review of 23 other U.S. cities similar in size to Minneapolis, 70 percent required licenses for massage businesses. Across the state, 14 cities require licenses for massage/bodywork operations, according to a report prepared by the city’s Community Planning and Economic Development department (CPED).

Staff from the city’s Business Licenses’ division held two meetings with neighborhood groups and people from the massage/bodywork industry — one on June 25 and another on Nov. 7 — to get feedback on the proposed license.