The International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association is the fitness industry's only global trade association representing over 10,000 for profit health and fitness facilities and over 600 supplier companies in 75 countries.

 

 



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Tuesday
Feb212017

Don’t Let Legislative Threats Disrupt Your Gym’s Daily Business Routine

Think about everything that you’ve done since the moment you walked through the doors of your gym this morning. This includes everything that constitutes a successful business day, like the laundry list of operational tasks you must perform and the personalized interactions that you have with members to ensure they are satisfied with their fitness experiences.

Now, think about what would happen if your entire routine was suddenly disrupted.

Imagine if those same members you usually engage in friendly conversation with were confronted with the choice of paying more to enjoy your program offerings or terminating their membership to pursue a more cost-effective option. Or imagine if your personal trainers decided to leave your business because they felt pressured to maintain too many certifications. Where would that leave you and your business?

Now stop imagining. These are real situations that club operators thought they might have to confront during the last legislative session.

In 2016, IHRSA monitored and fought against a number of these proposals that, if passed, would have been detrimental to health club operations. Here are four examples of ways clubs benefitted as a result of IHRSA stopping harmful legislation during the last session:

 

  1. Health clubs in Pennsylvania were not required to charge a sales tax on dues and services. As a result of IHRSA stopping the sales tax in Pennsylvania, health club consumers saved millions of dollars on fitness expenses and $35,000 was saved per club in the state. (Unfortunately this may once again be an issue in 2017.)
  2. Minnesota clubs were saved from having to pay added costs associated with renewing existing members. IHRSA prevented the passage of legislation that would have required Minnesota businesses to provide written notification to consumers 30 to 60 days prior to contract renewal. Because Minnesota clubs were not required to go through the business of renewing existing members, they saved a substantial amount of money and procedural headaches. 
  3. Thousands of children in California were able to participate in summer camp activities. California introduced Senate Bill 476, which would have required organized camps to undergo regular and costly inspections by the Department of Health. The bill did not advance thanks to the actions taken by IHRSA’s Sacramento lobbyist who met with the bill’s sponsor to discuss the negative implications the bill’s passage would have had on health clubs.
  4. Massachusetts health clubs are able to retain personal trainers. IHRSA stopped a bill that would have required all Massachusetts personal trainers to have a degree from a program with an accreditation approved by the Council for Higher Education, an accrediting association, or a certification approved by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies, also an accrediting association. Because the bill—which would have made it more difficult for trainers to become certified—was not passed, clubs did not lose trainers or the revenue stream associated with having these professionals.

 

The above are just some of the highlights. With the help of IHRSA’s state lobbyists and generous donations made by members of the Industry Leadership Council (ILC), IHRSA’s public policy team achieved a 19-1 legislative record through the end of 2016 and the beginning of 2017.

“IHRSA and the ILC are out there guarding the industry from threats. They’re out there watching and working to keep us secure. They are the firewall. It’s important to keep this firewall on, even when there isn’t a direct attack. It is crucial to have that level of protection and security,” says Bill McBride, co-founder, president and CEO of Active Wellness

For a more detailed overview of advocacy highlights from the past year and a forecasting preview for what is happening in 2017, please download the 2016 IHRSA Advocacy Impact Report with 2017 Legislative Forecasting. And to learn more, please contact the IHRSA public policy team at gr@ihrsa.org