Lawmakers Are Pre-filing Bills That Could Impact the Fitness Industry

    Lawmakers start filing bills while most sessions are out. That’s why we’re getting a head start on monitoring and tracking potentially harmful legislation for the fitness industry.

    State sessions are winding down, but that doesn't mean we're sitting around. Election Day is right around the corner, and with it, the ability of state legislators to pre-file bills for the 2019 session.

    What Is Pre-filing?

    Pre-filing bills is a common practice in many states that allows legislators to introduce proposals before the session officially begins. This practice gives legislative staff more time to draft bills and complete the related necessary paperwork. It also allows the legislative bodies to decide where a bill will be referred and help committees set their upcoming agendas.

    So before Halloween hits, we’re already monitoring pre-filed bills in a number of states.

    Pre-filing rules vary from state to state and chamber to chamber. In some states, only the House or Senate may allow pre-filing. Only three states (California, Michigan, and Wisconsin) prohibit pre-filing bills in both chambers, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. In many states, legislative sessions only last a few short months, so allowing lawmakers to file bills ahead of time maximizes efficiency, ensuring that the relatively few legislative session days available are used for debate and deliberation instead of procedure.

    Why We’re On Alert

    For instance, just a few weeks ago, Kentucky pre-filed Bill Request 76, which would exempt consumers of fitness at nonprofit institutions from paying the recently enacted sales tax. IHRSA promptly wrote a letter to the bill’s sponsor, requesting an exemption in the proposed legislation for all fitness services, not just nonprofit ones.

    This instance is an example of how pre-filed bills give the organizations tracking them time and opportunity to respond and actively be a part of the development process. IHRSA monitors pre-filed bills and reacts as necessary to protect club owners throughout the country.

    Pushing PHIT Forward

    The primaries are over, and with midterm elections approaching, your senators are likely to be back in their districts for events and campaigning. Given the November election, their offices should be eager to hear from constituents. Take this opportunity to speak with your senators at events or contact their office and let them know why you care about passing PHIT.

    We have resources and statistics that can help you advocate for PHIT. Ask your Senator how they stay active with their busy schedules and talk about how important exercise is in your life. Developing a relationship with your legislator is easy and can pay dividends.

    Contact your senator today!

    Author avatar

    Olivia MacLennan

    Olivia MacLennan previously served as IHRSA's Government Relations Coordinator—a position that supported IHRSA members in communicating with legislators while tracking legislation, drafting testimony and alerts, and responding to member inquiries on legal issues.