The Leaflet – States Attempt to Regulate Personal Fitness

Published September 25, 2015

States Attempt to Regulate Personal Fitness

Several places across the country, including Washington, DC, which was recently named the nation’s fittest city, are attempting to regulate the personal fitness training industry. Lawmakers in Washington, DC passed a bill that delegated the creation of regulations on physical trainers to the city’s Board of Physical Therapy.

The regulations are likely to be based on existing occupational licensing mandates, and experts believe the regulations will force trainers to register with the city and pay a fee before they can legally train clients. Opponents of the new proposed regulations, however, say the changes are meant to boost public revenue, not improve public health.

Florida and Massachusetts also proposed creating statewide standards that would require a personal fitness trainer to meet government-imposed standards, including obtaining an educational certification and licensure. Florida’s bill died in committee, but Massachusetts’ bill is still pending. Prior to 2012, bills were filed in Georgia and New Jersey that attempted to regulate the personal fitness training industry without success.

In a recent article in Governing, columnists Katherine Barrett and Richard Greene claim, “Thirty percent of U.S. workers now earn their living at professions that states license. Sixty years ago, that number was closer to 5 percent.”  Barrett and Greene argue, “Licensing has become popular for a few reasons. For one thing, it doesn’t cost a state anything to require it. The licensing fees cover the costs to the state of expanding capacity to provide testing and issue licenses. In addition, the licensing fees can provide extra cash to the state.”

Morris M. Kleiner of the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota, an expert on occupational licensing, argues, “Licensing can [negatively] affect employment when states are inclined to over-license by making it more difficult to enter an occupation.”

Establishing regulations in the personal fitness training industry would hurt both consumers and businesses in two ways. First, much like the debate of licensing hair braiding, these regulations create an unnecessary obstacle to overcome when pursuing a career in personal fitness training. Second, the additional fines and certifications will increase the cost of these services for consumers.

Licensure will make fitness training more expensive and less accessible, which could negatively affect public health.

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Solution to Government Overreach Is in the Constitution
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Budget and Tax
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In this Research & Commentary, Senior Policy Analyst Matthew Glans argues Wyoming lawmakers should strongly consider reforming their civil asset forfeiture process by working to ensure assets are seized only for legal reasons and to remove the incentive for law enforcement to seize more property than necessary. Read more

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Indiana retained its top spot in the Center for Education Reform’s Parent Power Index (PPI) rankings for 2015. The Parent Power Index gauges how states measure up on numerous variables, including “strength of charter school laws, school choice, online learning, teacher quality, and transparency in education information.” Florida and Arizona followed the Hoosier State at the top of the rankings, while Montana, South Dakota, and Nebraska were PPI’s worst-performing states. Read more

Energy and Environment
Black Leaders Fighting President’s Environmental Agenda
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In the debates over the ACA, critics warned the cost of the Cadillac tax would be passed on to employers in the form of higher premiums. These warnings proved prescient, and the latest problem to emerge from this tax is the “spousal surcharge.” In this Research & Commentary, Senior Policy Analyst Matthew Glans examines the spousal surcharge and argues the Cadillac tax is simply forcing families to pay more for health care. Read more

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The September issue of School Reform News reports the North Carolina Supreme Court found the state’s Opportunity Scholarship Program to be constitutional. Dick Komer, senior attorney for the Institute for justice, noted “The decision is important for all of the schoolchildren in North Carolina, because by allowing low-income families to attend private schools, the public schools will be forced to take those low-income students’ needs more seriously.”

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