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    4 Legislative Trends that Could Change Your Gym

    State legislatures have been busy so take some time to review the activity you may have missed and the state legislative trends that could impact your business in the future.

    As we head into spring, much is happening across the country that could impact the fitness industry, and IHRSA is busy staying on top of it all. Currently, 20 states have adjourned their legislative sessions, with more to follow in the coming weeks as legislators gear up for election season.

    States with adjourned legislative sessions (at the time of this article) include:

    • Alabama
    • Arkansas
    • Florida
    • Georgia
    • Idaho
    • Indiana
    • Maryland
    • Mississippi
    • Montana
    • Nevada
    • New Mexico
    • North Dakota
    • Oregon
    • South Dakota
    • Texas
    • Utah
    • Virginia
    • Washington
    • West Virginia
    • Wyoming

    Before state legislative sessions began adjourning, we noticed some trends that could impact you.

    Women In Gym On Bikes Column Width

    Automatic Renewal

    Proposals prohibiting automatic renewal, or mandating burdensome renewal-notification requirements have appeared in Maryland and New Jersey, and IHRSA has worked hard to submit testimony against these in every instance.

    Active-Duty Memberships

    Many states have put forth bills that allow active-duty military and National Guard members to cancel or suspend their gym memberships (and subscriptions) when they are called to serve. One such bill passed in Florida before the legislature adjourned.

    AEDs

    Legislators in many states (namely Georgia, Virginia, and Tennessee) have also put forth efforts to further mandate automatic external defibrillators (AEDs), a safety precaution that IHRSA supports while following closely.

    Taxes on Membership

    States like Kentucky, Wyoming, Tennessee, and Pennsylvania have attempted taxing gym memberships as a way to offset other tax cuts. With the help of engaged fitness professionals like you, we continue to work to fight these proposals.

    These are just a few of the trends we're watching. IHRSA works hard to protect our members from burdensome laws that would make it harder or more expensive to operate health clubs. Visit your state advocacy page to learn more about news and proposed legislation in your state.

    On the Federal Front

    Although Congress did not include HR 5138 (which includes PHIT) in the final omnibus spending bill, we have built strong support for PHIT inside Capitol Hill. The inclusion of PHIT language as part of Congressman Mike Kelly’s (R-PA) Bipartisan HSA Improvement Act (H.R. 5138) reform bill both raises PHIT’s profile and offers another path to seeing PHIT become law.

    Your enthusiasm and support has been critical in pushing PHIT forward and making it part of the discussion on Capitol Hill. In one month, the #PassPHIT campaign amassed over 1,100 participants, sending more than 500 direct messages to their legislators. These numbers pale in comparison to our total social media impact reaching more than 15,000 accounts with over 600 actions taken. We will continue to push for PHIT and are positioned to take advantage of any opportunity to get it passed into law.

    Have a question or concern about legislative issues impacting the health and fitness industry across the country or locally? Shoot us an email!

    Author avatar

    Olivia MacLennan

    Olivia MacLennan is the Government Relations Coordinator for IHRSA. In addition to supporting IHRSA members and communicating with legislators, she tracks legislation, drafts testimony and alerts, and responds to member inquiries on legal issues. When she’s not at work, Olivia can be found dog sitting or playing defense for her recreational soccer teams.