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Bills regulate massage parlors, liquor licenses and background

May 14, 2003|by LAURA ERNDE

Maryland Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich signed three local bills Tuesday, including legislation to more closely regulate massage therapists.

Washington County Sheriff Charles Mades had asked for the new law after it was discovered last year that a Hagerstown-area massage therapy business was being used as a front for prostitution.

Two employees of Deanna's Massage Therapy and Wellness Center were charged with prostitution last May. A legitimate massage therapy license was used to open the business.

The legislation allows the Washington County Commissioners to adopt stricter oversight of massage establishments.

Ehrlich also signed legislation to:

  • Allow the Washington County Commissioners to conduct criminal background checks of prospective employees.

    The county estimates it will perform 25 records checks a year and hire private investigators to perform more extensive background checks on another 25 prospects in jobs that involve law enforcement or money handling.

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Those background checks will cost the county about $38,800 a year, according to the Maryland Department of Legislative Services.

  • Prevent those who hold liquor licenses in other states from getting a liquor license in the county.

    The Washington County Restaurant and Beverage Association asked for the legislation to bar large chain stores from opening.

    While it does limit their competition, liquor store owners said smaller stores can provide better regulation of underage drinking.

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