The International Hot Tub Association hopes a new alliance will help provide the industry with better protection against unwanted legislation.

Earlier this month, the 40-member organization contracted Stateside Associates, a government affairs firm based in Arlington, Va. Stateside’s role is to monitor proposed state and federal legislation impacting the hot tub industry. “This was one of the main bases for the original formation of the IHTA,” said Rick Taylor, the newest member of the group’s board of directors.

“There are a lot of things pending in terms of overregulation of the industry, and this will help prevent us from being blindsided, which is what’s happened in the past.”

Taylor, who is also a regional sales manager with DEL Ozone, cited the recent adoption of electrical licensing regulations in Texas and Title 20 in California as examples where the industry could have benefited from earlier notification.

“I don’t think our voice has always been heard,” he said.

While the current agreement covers legislation, officials anticipate the next step for IHTA and Stateside will involve monitoring regulations, which typically are passed by state and local agencies, said Mitch Brooks, the group’s executive director.

IHTA’s board of directors, which now contains 16 members, approved the deal with Stateside during a meeting at the Atlantic City Pool & Spa Show in late January.