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IHRSA Advocate

The IHRSA Advocate is your guide to knowing and understanding the policies that influence daily health club operations. We analyze the action, so you know when to take your own.

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Entries in California (4)


California Social Services: New Guidelines for license-exempt child care

Over the past few years, IHRSA has maintained a dialogue with the California Department of Social Services regarding the agency's regulation of health club child care centers and kids' camps.

As part of those conversations, DSS recently shared a draft of guidelines for unlicensed childcare providers in the state with IHRSA. Learn more on


California Sales Tax: Won the Battle, Not the War

The proposal to charge sales tax on personal training services in California will likely die in the state’s legislature this week, relieving some of the health club industry’s anxiety over a sales tax imposition in response to the state’s fiscal crisis.

IHRSA alerted members to the tax proposal on April 18th, which led to over 500 emails being sent to members of the California Assembly asking them to oppose any tax on healthy lifestyles. IHRSA would like to recognize those members who spoke up to protect our industry and defeat harmful disincentives for exercise.

Assembly Bill 2540 sought to impose the state’s gross receipts tax on various services, including personal training. If AB 2540 is not heard in a committee before Friday, April 27—and it is likely that it won’t—it will be dead. 

However, this success remains overshadowed by California’s significant debt. “This will not be the last time the sales tax issue crops up,” said Tim Sullivan, IHRSA’s Senior Legislative Analyst. “States will continue to grapple with large deficits for the foreseeable future, which means a sales tax is always a possibility, even if it’s been defeated before.” Sullivan urges all clubs, in California and across the country, to stay on alert for sales tax proposals.


Attempted Kidnapping, Review Your Policies

“The child is safe, and all is well but it could have been a terrible situation,” said Fuller, who says often times an unauthorized pick up is the result of a custody battle. It is not clear if there was a custody battle in this case. Regardless of the circumstances, Fuller recommends all clubs that offer child care services review their policies with staff and ensure utmost compliance. “Be aware it can happen and be careful and diligent in making sure children are returned to the correct parent,” Fuller said.

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Sales Tax Proposals Continue to Threaten Health Clubs  

A possible state sales tax on health clubs has emerged in California, as lawmakers aim to replenish state coffers and close a reported $9.2 billion budget deficit. The proposal, Assembly Bill 1963 (AB 1963), would require health clubs to impose the state sales tax on services at a reduced rate of 4 percent. Click here for in-depth bill information.

The bill’s introduction is indicative of a national trend says Tim Sullivan, Senior Legislative Analyst for IHRSA. “It’s a typical reaction on behalf of legislators in difficult economic times to look for additional sources of revenue,” he said. Sullivan tracks legislative activity related to health clubs in all fifty states, and says IHRSA sees around 3-5 sales tax battles per year. This is a trend he sees continuing to grow due to prevailing economic deficits. IHRSA is also currently fighting a sales tax battle in Maryland and monitoring a potential threat in the city of Chicago.

But, Sullivan says, taxing health clubs is the wrong solution. Regular exercise and healthy lifestyles help reduce health care costs and boost employee productivity, which are critical to rehabilitating an economy, he said. “Governments should encourage these behaviors, not discourage them by taxing health club memberships and services.”

IHRSA has begun advocacy efforts to oppose AB 1963. IHRSA members can stay updated on the bill's progress and learn ways to get involved in IHRSA's fight against taxing healthy lifestyles on in the coming weeks.