Exercise Nation Strongly Urges Maryland’s Senate to Approve Health Club Bonding Legislation

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Legislation would financially protect Maryland’s residents who join health clubs.

This legislation must become law to financially protect Maryland citizens

Diana Dutt
CEO, Exercise Nation

Diana Dutt, President and CEO of Exercise Nation, is urgently calling for the Maryland State Senate to approve a Bill that protects health clubs and their patrons in the State of Maryland. House Bill 187, sponsored by Delegate Warren Miller (R-Howard County), clarifies the bond application language health clubs are required to use when obtaining surety bonds for their locations. H.B. 187 ensures Maryland health clubs can permanently obtain surety bonds to protect the prepaid funds of members. The House of Delegates unanimously approved the Bill which is now being considered by the Maryland State Senate.

“Without this legislation in place, the Maryland Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division (CPD) is able to unilaterally change the bond application language,” says Dutt. “Because of changes the CPD made during the past four years, many health clubs have been unable to obtain the necessary bonding to protect consumers who sign long-term agreements with their health clubs. This legislation must become law to financially protect Maryland citizens and to provide the proper framework for health club industry oversight.”

The Maryland House of Delegates passed H.B. 187 unanimously with amendments. Upon hearing testimony from the Maryland Attorney General’s representative describing the reasons their office originally opposed the bill, Dutt strongly urged Senator Kittlemen that the Senate Finance Committee accept the bill as amended. Dutt said that while she prefers the original language of the bill, the amendments do not cause her concern. “The amendments would add clarity to the bill and make it more agreeable to all parties involved with these issues,” says Dutt. “I urge the Senate Finance Committee and the full Senate to approve the bill which also has the support of the surety industry.”

According to Dutt, Exercise Nation has a bond in place that protects its customers; however, the requirements placed on her company have caused her premiums for the bond to more than triple. She says that the financial burden prevents her, any many in Maryland’s health club industry, from enhancing their facilities to the degree that they’d like, thus negatively impacting customer experience and disallowing the creation of desperately needed jobs in the state.

The only 100% woman-owned, low-cost fitness club in the United States, Exercise Nation’s motto is “Where members matter!” In addition to its newest location in Arlington, VA., the company has locations in Ellicott City and Lutherville, Maryland. Exercise Nation offers “Budget Body,” a free online weight management program. The company’s passport program provides members access to more than 9,700 gyms nation-wide at reduced guest rates. For additional information about Exercise Nation, visit the company’s website at: http://www.exercisenationclubs.com.

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Paul Bailey
Fallston Group, LLC
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