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Thursday, February 4, 2010 - 11:41am

Bill Intended to Crackdown on Massage Parlors in Macon

A bill intended to crackdown on illegal activity at massage parlors was introduced in the state senate today. Macon lawmakers sponsoring the legislation says there’s a scourge of the problem in their area.

Republican Senator Cecil Staton says the people of Macon and Bibb County are tired of the parlors tarnishing their image.

"It is disturbing when you’re going up and down the interstate to see advertisements for these locations... to read the occasional stories about sting operations or sex trafficking that may be going on behind the scenes."

Staton says the bill would make it more difficult for businesses to blur the lines between certified massage services and "spa" services, and it would make punishment more severe.

"We want to put a little more teeth into the law so when prosecutors and law enforcement when they seek to go after individuals who are committing these crimes, they will have a little bit more in their arsenal."

Violators would get steeper fines and a third offense would be a felony.

Staton called on local officials to create their own ordinances regulating the massage industry as other communities in the state have done to deter illegal activity.

His bill makes it clear locals have the authority to do so.