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2017 ESA Day on Capitol Hill

Posted By ESA Communications, Wednesday, April 12, 2017

One of the major reasons for belonging to a trade association is to affect government legislation and regulations that enhance business operations and profitability, as well as to prevent onerous legislation that would have negative effects on organizations conducting business in that industry.

The 2017 ESA Day on Capitol Hill provides a pivotal opportunity for members to come together as a united group to influence legislation and protect the industry. Don’t assume that others will handle the fight in Congress for you.

Take an active role and be part of the effort to protect your business and livelihood!

 

HOW ESA’S DAY ON CAPITOL HILL WORKS

The 2017 Day on Capitol Hill is rapidly approaching and represents your best opportunity to make meaningful connections not only with government officials working on legislation relevant to industry interests, but with other like-minded industry insiders as well.

The event is slated for May 16-17 in Washington, D.C. and draws delegates from around the United States for two days of government relations business, including meetings with members of Congress and their staff, as well as, networking opportunities for ESA members.

The well-appointed Hyatt Centric Arlington Hotel will serve as the gathering point for ESA members. It is just minutes away from Washington D.C. and the Rosslyn Metro station. The hotel provides the perfect backdrop for ESA members to come together, prepare for congressional meetings and impact legislation that could have serious implications on our industry.

Day on Capitol Hill represents our members’ best opportunity to make their concerns heard by their elected officials on issues important to the electronic security industry, such as health plans offered through associations, the Career and Technical Education Program as part of workforce development efforts, school security funding, and even “buy American” initiatives proposed by the new administration. By putting names and faces to the issues attendees can impress upon Congress the importance of the electronic life safety and security industry and the services that members provide to residential consumers, commercial end users and government agencies.

Meetings with congressional offices are set up on your behalf ahead of your arrival with either officials local to your region, or those that are crucial to legislation of interest to ESA member companies. Talking points and issue briefs to assist with the visits will be provided to you in advance so that you are well prepared to discuss the issues and current relevant events. ESA Director of Government Relations, John Chwat shared that ESA is a member of the Alarm Industry Communications Committee (AICC), made up of several major security trade associations and top companies. He said AICC is a big part of Day on Capitol Hill.

Registration for this event is free for ESA members. You simply need to register by April 14th and plan to spend Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday at the event. ESA will take care of the rest for you. Attendees should plan to depart on Thursday morning to take full advantage of your time in DC.

The event begins in the afternoon on Tuesday, May 16th with registration opening at 1pm and an ESA Government Relations Committee meeting at 4pm followed by the Platinum Reception sponsored by Honeywell. Upon your arrival you will meet with ESA Director of Government Relations, John Chwat. John will answer any questions you have and walk you through the talking points to ensure you are comfortable with the issues. He will also explain how all of the meetings will work and review your scheduled appointments with you for the following day.

Wednesday morning begins with the Silver Breakfast Briefing sponsored by Altronix and Security America RRG. This breakfast offers attendees another opportunity to get their questions answered and further discuss the legislative talking points with one another before heading out for meetings in Congress. Representatives, Senators and their staff will meet with you in pre-scheduled meetings from 9:30am to 12pm. Tuesday afternoon will feature the Gold Lunch sponsored by Axis Communications, Telguard, and Tri-Ed an Anixter Company near the Capitol. Then you will head back to additional meetings with your elected officials from 2:30pm to 4:30pm. Attendees will then return to the Hyatt Centric Arlington Hotel to debrief on your meetings. The Diamond Cocktail Reception and Dinner, sponsored by Interlogix, is a fantastic event that will put the final touches on a very productive day.

With the most recent election bringing sweeping change to the face of Congress, Chwat says it is increasingly important that attendees meet and familiarize themselves with the new congressmen and their staff. Returning members of Congress need to be reminded why our industry is so important and how their vote on important issues affects your business.

Registration is open at www.ESAweb.org/DOCH.

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ESA State Legislative/Regulatory Report - February 2017

Posted By Chris Heaton, Vice President, Membership and Chapter Relations, Monday, March 6, 2017

To say the 2017 state legislative cycle is busy would be an understatement.  Through February 2017, 184 bills related to the industry were tagged for monitoring and many warranted alerts to chapter leaders and members in their respective states.  An enormous number of bills around the country address life safety issues, particularly with carbon monoxide detection in schools and new residential construction.  So far, 57 measures were tagged with life safety issues. There are also many bills that would impact regulatory conditions for members in several states, 49 bills to be specific.  Please refer to all bills in your state and do not hesitate to contact us if you would like additional information on any legislation.  Some current bills of interest that moved during February will be highlighted below. 

Arizona S 1186 is a bill that would extend the certificate period for alarm businesses and the controlling person from two to three years.  It also provided for a temporary clearance method for individuals to work while waiting on federal background checks to be completed.  This bill passed the Senate and was sent to the house on February 22, 2017 and is supported by the Arizona Alarm Association. 

On the other hand, another bill in Arizona, S 1437, referred to as the “Right To Earn a Living Act” would allow any person who claims harm by any regulation to file a claim against the regulatory body and force litigation to determine if the regulatory body rule met the necessity requirements of Arizona statutes.  This bill is considered overly onerous to occupational boards and opens the door to abuse by anyone with perceived grievance to dismantle needed regulations.  This bill also passed the Senate and was sent to the House on February 22, 2017.

Florida H 473 would provide an exemption from the states’ enhanced call confirmation statutes for buildings that housed federally licensed firearm dealer guns and ammo.  As filed, this bill was viewed as overly broad and presented several potential problems but organizations and members in the state worked to have acceptable language amended in the bill. This bill was referred to committee on February 6, 2017.

Georgia H 239 is the chapter supported low voltage continuing education bill that would require a mere four (4) hours of continuing education for low voltage contractors.  This bill passed all the way to the House Floor, but did not pass the third reading on February 23, 2017.

Several bills in Hawaii have potential impact on taxes for fire suppression systems and alter licensing requirements for electrical trades, which include low voltage specialty electrical contractors.  Please refer to the State Legislative Report details in the spreadsheet below for specific measures and their potential impact. 

Iowa S 294 would require all public schools to install video/audio monitoring systems in all public use areas.  This bill was introduced on February 21, 2017 and referred to the Senate Committee on Education.

In Illinois, several bills are under consideration that are worthy of review.  H 3464 would change the experience requirements for licensing as a private security contractor.  H 3043 would require any contractor who does business with the state to pay a minimum wage of $16.36 p/h.  S 1682 would establish fire alarm licensing requirements and create the Fire Alarm Service Professional Licensing Act. 

Kansas H 2232 is another bill that seems to be trending with states across the country by providing voluntary video and audio monitoring of residents in long-term care facilities with consent of the resident or guardian and prohibits retaliatory actions from the facility. 

Kentucky H 394 is a legislative extension of the Governor’s executive action to consolidate all the trade advisory boards under the Department of Housing Buildings and Construction into one large advisory board with single representatives from each of the trades.

Massachusetts also has many bills covering several issues related to carbon monoxide detection in schools, fire protection systems, apprenticeship requirements and tax exemption provisions for life safety devices.  Please refer to the state by state report for details on each bill.

In Maryland, there are two different bills of interest to members.  H 1271 and S 952 would cap local permit fees for installation of alarm systems and exempt wireless systems from permitting requirements.  It would also prohibit local jurisdictions from creating additional licensing requirements. 

H 1368 would create a state-based electrical licensing requirement and eliminate local licensing.  However, this bill does not have a low voltage licensing classification or exemption and this would have the effect of requiring all alarm dealers to have a licensed master electrician on job sites.  All members in Maryland were notified on this bill, which is scheduled for a hearing on March 6, 2017.

Missouri had bills on two different issues that merited closer attention.  S 19 and H 91 are “right to work” bills that prohibit a person from joining or not joining a labor union as a condition of accepting or continuing employment.  These bills passed and were signed by the Governor on February 6, 2017. 

H 807 and S 240 are bills that create a statewide licensing act.  However, unlike the Maryland bill, these bills contain the low voltage exemption language adopted by the legislative coalition that ESA and other low voltage industry partners endorse. 

There are also many bills in New York and New Jersey that address physical security and carbon monoxide in schools, businesses and residential structures as well as other issues, such as fire suppression systems and tax credits for home security.  Please refer to the specific bills for additional information.

Oklahoma S 283 would extend the building code updates to every six years rather than the recommended three years as the various building codes are updated by standard writing organizations.  This bill is supported by home builder groups, but opposed by the trade associations that support the three-year standards.

Another bill in Oklahoma, S 531 would remove the requirement for multiple endorsements to install access control, CCTV and other low voltage systems that are integrated and part of a security system.  This bill passed by committee on February 23, 2017.

Tennessee H 1392 and S 599 would allow homeowners who become ill after a certain period within an alarm system contract to cancel the terms of the contract for medical reasons. The TNESA is working with the bill sponsor for acceptable language in a way that will protect the company investment in such circumstances.

Washington H 2123 was introduced on February 17, 2017 and would amend the experience requirements of the statute that governs limited energy electricians.  This bill was forwarded to the chapter for further review.

As mentioned at the outset, this was a very busy month for legislative activity.  As bills are introduced or move within states that have significant impact to the industry, we will alert chapter leaders and/or members.  If you have questions regarding any legislation, please contact Chris Heaton at (972) 807-6815 or chris.heaton@esaweb.org.  A complete list of bills through February may be reviewed at www.esaweb.org/slr

 

 

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Association Health Plans – A Solution for Small Businesses?

Posted By John Chwat, Director, Government Relations, Monday, March 6, 2017

As the US Congress continues its efforts to revise and propose legislative and policy changes to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) better known as “Obamacare,” one of the most popular alternatives to greater health coverage for individuals has come back for consideration, known as the “Association Health Plans (AHP).” This proposal was presented a long time ago within hearings and bills in the Congress but never was added to the ACA, nor to any health-related insurance legislation. Many Senators and Congressmen have started to support its concept as has some of the major trade and professional associations during this 2017 health debate.

 

The AHP concept is embodied in a bill, H.R. 1101, introduced February 16,2017 by Rep. Sam Johnson (R-TX), a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, entitled, “The Small Business Health Fairness Act“, which was referred to the House Education and the Workforce Committee.  Sen. Rand Paul(R-KY), a physician and supporter of AHP’s, recently announced that this concept can provide significant coverage for individuals who are members of associations.

 

H.R.1101 would allow small business owners the same opportunities that large corporations and unions can secure - health benefit coverage by pooling many small employee groups to form one large risk pool of participants. AHP’s would also allow small business owners to unite across state lines through their membership in a trade and professional association to purchase health coverage, making it more affordable and spreading the risks for insurance companies among a larger group thereby offering better policies to individual members of the group. This would, per the Congressman’s office, strengthen negotiating power with health plans and providers, reduce administrative costs and, more importantly, make health coverage affordable again.

 

The ESA reached out to Rep. Johnson’s office and others in the Congress to support H.R.1101, as we have in the past on this AHP proposal. On February 26, 2017 a coalition of groups, including the ESA, started to contact Capitol Hill urging its consideration during the upcoming health care debate. ESA has joined groups such as the US Chamber of Commerce, National Federation of Independent Business, American Society of Association Executives, Associated Builders and Contractors, National Association of Home Builders, Independent Electrical Contractors, National Retail Federation, American Hotel and Lodging Association and many other national groups.

 

Members of ESA are urged to contact their US House members who serve on the Education and the Workforce Committee as well as other elected officials urging passage of H.R. 1101 and inclusion of AHPs in any revision of health coverage laws and policy. The following is a list of House members on the Education and Workforce Committee:

    Republicans

    Rep. Virgina Foxx, North Carolina (Chair)

    Rep. Joe Wilson, South Carolina (Vice Chair)

    Rep. Duncan Hunter, California

    Rep. David P. Roe, Tennessee

    Rep. Glenn "GT" Thompson, Pennsylvania

    Rep. Tim Walberg, Michigan

    Rep. Brett Guthrie, Kentucky

    Rep. Todd Rokita, Indiana

    Rep. Lou Barletta, Pennsylvania

    Rep. Luke Messer, Indiana

    Rep. Bradley Byrne, Alabama

    Rep. David Brat, Virginia

    Rep. Glenn Grothman, Wisconsin

    Rep. Steve Russell, Oklahoma

    Rep. Elise Stefanik, New York

    Rep. Rick W. Allen, Georgia

    Rep. Jason Lewis, Minnesota

    Rep. Francis Rooney, Florida

    Rep. Paul Mitchell, Michigan

    Rep. Tom Garrett, Jr., Virginia

    Rep. Lloyd K. Smucker, Pennsylvania

    Rep. A. Drew Ferguson, IV, Georgia Vacancy

    Democrats

    Rep. Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (Ranking Member), Virginia

    Rep. Susan A. Davis, California

    Rep. Raul M. Grijalva, Arizona

    Rep. Joe Courtney, Connecticut

    Rep. Marcia L. Fudge, Ohio

    Rep. Jared Polis, Colorado

    Rep. Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan, Northern Mariana Islands

    Rep. Frederica S. Wilson, Florida

    Rep. Suzanne Bonamici, Oregon

    Rep. Mark Takano, California

    Rep. Alma S. Adams, North Carolina

    Rep. Mark DeSaulnier, California

    Rep. Donald Norcross, New Jersey

    Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester, Delaware

    Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, Illinois

    Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, New Hampshire

    Rep. Adriano Espaillat, New York

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Congress Moving Quickly on Legislation in 2017

Posted By John Chwat, Director, Government Relations, Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Telecommunication Bills Predicted to Pass Soon with More Waiting in the Wings

Congress has been in session for less than 60 days and it is astonishing how rapidly legislation is being introduced and moved through.

Some bills move to “suspensions” in less than two weeks in the House and pass, usually by a unanimous voice vote, before moving on to the U.S. Senate.

For example, HR511, or The PASS Act, was introduced by Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT) and co-sponsored by Rep. Brooks (R-IN). This bill is particularly important to our industry, as it extends the exemption from External Power Supply requirements for life safety, alarm or surveillance systems from July 1, 2017 to July 1, 2023. It passed the U.S. House Jan. 23 and was then sent to the Senate for final consideration. This legislation was passed in the House last year but did not pass in the Senate.

A similar bill, S.190, was introduced in the Senate and then referred to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. It is expected that this legislation will go to the White House for signature into Public Law very soon.

Other bills presented, include three telecommunications bills which passed the U.S. House on Jan. 23 as well. All three bills were considered last session, but did not receive final approval.

The “Anti-Spoofing” Act, HR 423, which passed by a vote of 398 to 5, extends the provision of the Truth in Caller ID Act to include text messaging and VoIP services. The text messaging definition does not include:

 

“…a real-time, two-way voice or video communication; or a message sent over an IP-enabled messaging service to another user of the same messaging service . . .”

 

The bill seeks to have the Federal Trade Commission work with the Federal Communications Commission to develop consumer education materials on ID scams. The new Chair of the House Communications and Technology Subcommittee, Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), coordinated House passage of these bills.

HR588, “Securing Access to Networks in Disasters,” passed without opposition. This bill would require the FCC to conduct a study on the feasibility and benefits of making Wifi access points available to the general public for access to 911 services during times of emergency.

Another bill, HR 582, “Kari’s Law,” passed by a vote of 408 to 0, addresses the configuration of 911 calls to first responders. All of these bills have Senate counterparts, and all were successfully considered and passed in the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee Jan. 24, the following day.

Again, it is anticipated that these bills will pass Congress very soon, with more telecommunication legislations waiting in the wings.

To prepare for the battles ahead, ESA lists the new U.S. House Communications and Technology Subcommittee members for the 155thCongress (2017-2018).

 

Republican Members

Marsha Blackburn(Tennessee - 07)- Chairman
Leonard Lance (New Jersey - 07) - Vice Chairman
John Shimkus (Illinois - 15)
Steve Scalise (Louisiana - 01)
Robert Latta (Ohio - 05)
Brett Guthrie (Kentucky - 02)
Pete Olson (Texas - 22)
Adam Kinzinger (Illinois - 16)
Gus Bilirakis (Florida - 12)
Bill Johnson (Ohio - 06)
Billy Long (Missouri - 07)
Bill Flores (Texas - 17)
Susan Brooks (Indiana - 05)
Chris Collins (New York - 27)
Kevin Cramer (North Dakota - 00)
Mimi Walters (California - 45)
Ryan Costello (Pennsylvania - 06)
Greg Walden (Oregon - 02) - Ex Officio
 

Democratic Members

Michael Doyle (Pennsylvania - 14) - Ranking Member
Peter Welch (Vermont - 00)
Yvette Clarke (New York - 09)
David Loebsack (Iowa - 02)
Raul Ruiz (California - 36)
Debbie Dingell (Michigan - 12)
Bobby Rush (Illinois - 01)
Anna Eshoo (California - 18)
Eliot Engel (New York - 16)
G. K. Butterfield (North Carolina - 01)
Doris Matsui (California - 06)

Jerry McNerney (California - 09)
Frank Pallone (New Jersey - 06) - Ex Officio

_______________________________________

 

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2016 State Legislative Recap

Posted By Chris Heaton, Vice President, Membership and Chapter Relations, Tuesday, January 17, 2017
Updated: Wednesday, January 18, 2017

ESA implemented a new and more robust strategy regarding state legislative and regulatory advocacy in 2016. Through November, ESA contacted chapters and/or National Company members on over 70 bills or proposed regulations of the 242 bills and proposed regulations that were tagged for monitoring. Interaction with state chapters and National companies is one of the most important aspects of advocacy for the electronic security industry. Many positive and negative proposals are introduced in state legislatures and it is vitally important that members become engaged in the process to protect their business and viability in the market place. We will review some significant measures where ESA and its members engaged in advocacy to make a difference.

In 2015 Arkansas rewrote its security licensing laws, abolished the regulatory board that oversees alarm licensing and handed administrative control to the Arkansas State Police (ASP). After the law went into effect, it was quickly noted that current license holders were being denied renewals because the language that allowed the board to review applications and mitigate the circumstances of past misdemeanor offenses was removed. The ASP had no statutory authority to issue licenses for any renewal or new application from a person who had a conviction for Class A misdemeanors, no matter how long ago the offense was committed or how long the applicant had previously been licensed. 

This impacted numerous license holders who were now being forced from their jobs for misdemeanors they committed 20 to 30 years ago and despite the fact they were licensed for many years prior to the renewal. Two bills were filed in a special session to correct the language and put into place a statute of limitations for certain offenses. H 1004b and S 6b both passed during the special session with the assistance of several ESA National Company members.

In California an omnibus bill was amended to include language that would force substantial changes to alarm system contracts. ESA notified the California Alarm Association of this “hidden” amendment and the chapter quickly mobilized to address the issue. The amendment was eventually stripped from that bill and added it to another bill, S 1196 but it included changes that were acceptable to the CAA and this version eventually passed.

Delaware H 394 was introduced in June 2016 and proposed a complete re-write of the licensing requirements in that state.  With no affiliated chapter in that state, ESA notified National Company members who became engaged on the bill.  This bill was amended and passed the House, but it stalled and died in the Senate. 

In Illinois, S 2837 proposed to amend the smoke detector act but did not contain exemption language for monitored, low frequency wireless detectors as seen in other states with similar legislation.  ESA informed the Illinois chapter and National Company members. Amended language was offered and the bill is still pending.

With the simple addition of a phrase within a bill, Louisiana S 336, would have required all contractors who perform low-voltage installations (including alarm systems) over a certain dollar threshold, to become licensed as electrical contractors.  The chapter was successful in stalling the bill, which eventually failed.

ESA worked with National Company members on “Buy American” bills to ensure proper “life safety” exemptions were included in such legislation. Maine S 587 was one such bill, which our National Company members were successful in having the proper exemption included, however, the bill did not pass. 

Several potentially impactful bills were introduced in Massachusetts that resulted in numerous communications with ESA members and other trade associations. One bill, H 242 would have subjected wireless systems to new permitting requirements. ESA National Company members were heavily engaged in opposition to this legislation and it did not move after passing the first committee. 

Another bill was introduced that would streamline the permitting process in Massachusetts and explicitly exempt wireless systems from permitting requirements. This bill was re-drafted and issued a new bill number two different times, but now sits within H 4547. It passed the House but did not move past the Senate Rules Committee.

Yet another amendment, found within municipal finance bills in Massachusetts, H 4419 and H 2410, proposed to create a security systems commission to study electronic security licensing issues in the state. The original version of this bill was heavily laden with industry insiders and was obviously created to stunt the emerging technology that is entering the market and penalize dealers who market wireless and other more advanced security systems. ESA members became heavily engaged in this legislation and at one point had an amendment that would put an ESA member on the commission.  The amendment was eventually stripped from the bill.

In Maryland, a “home improvement” consumer protection bill, H 439, was introduced that extended the right to cancel contracts initiated by door-to-door sales from 3 to 5 days and from 5 to 10 days for customers over 65 years of age. There was no exemption for electronic security or life safety sales in the original bill.  National Company members became engaged and added an exemption for life safety system sales and this bill eventually passed with that amended language.

Other bills that ESA worked with members at the chapter and National Company level, but were not successful getting passed include Arizona S 1162, which updated the fingerprint card submission requirements in a way that was supported by the chapter and National Company members. Connecticut S 239 was introduced to reduce false alarms by providing enhanced call confirmation protocols and authorize local governments to enact false alarm fee ordinances. Georgia H 593 was a chapter supported continuing education bill for low-voltage contractors. This bill failed in the short session but will be re-introduced in 2017.

ESA was also engaged with several electrical licensing bills that were introduced and worked with members and other low-voltage industry groups to ensure that proper low voltage exemption language existed. In Indiana an electrical licensing bill, S 312, did not contain the low voltage exemption language. ESA worked with the chapter, National Company members and other low voltage industry organizations to fight this legislation or have the needed exemption language added.  The bill did not pass. In Kentucky, ESA worked very closely with the Department of Housing, Buildings and Construction (DHBC) the Kentucky ESA and National companies to craft legislation that was acceptable to ESA members and the low-voltage industry.  H 239 was eventually introduced, but it came too late in the session to have a chance to pass.  It is believed this legislation will be re-introduced in 2017. And, in Missouri an electrical licensing bill H 2063, was introduced, but did contain the ESA approved low-voltage exemption language. However, its Senate companion bill had faulty exemption language and as a result, both bills failed.

ESA also engaged members when bills that create vertical markets as well as provide greater public safety to vulnerable populations, such as school security upgrades, were filed.  New Jersey A 2158 was one such bill that would provide appropriations for school security improvement. This bill eventually passed and was sent to the Governor on 11.21.2016. 

ESA was also engaged with chapters and National Company members on bills that touched on different segments of electronic security and life safety. Numerous bills updated smoke and carbon monoxide detector and alarm requirements.  ESA monitored and informed chapters on 33 bills in 18 states on such legislation. Through November 2016, 9 of these bills were enacted into law.

Another topic that drew legislative action through the year was video monitoring in long-term care facilities and other facilities with vulnerable populations such as day care facilities. There were 14 bills filed in 10 states on this segment of the industry, with 3 of those bills enacted into law. 

During 2016, 43 bills that ESA tagged for monitoring and dissemination to members were enacted into law. Most will have little impact on your day-to-day responsibilities, but it is important to know because it is your business. Do you?

We expect 2017 to be equally active for proposed legislation and regulations that impact the industry. There will likely be more legislation that will address privacy concerns (i.e. biometric and electronic surveillance), facility security, monitoring in long-term facilities, a continuation of carbon monoxide and smoke detector/alarm related bills as well as changes to the regulatory environment in a number of states.  As always, ESA will continue with timely reporting and engagement to protect the interests of the industry and the public it serves.  

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UPDATE: ESA Activity in Congress

Posted By John Chwat, Director, Government Relations, Tuesday, January 17, 2017

ESA will continue to monitor a broad range of issues we believe Congress will consider as it begins the 115th Congressional session (2017-18).

Working with the new leadership in the House and Senate, we will focus on the Federal Communications Commission actions that touch on the electronic security and life safety industry, collaborating with the Alarm Industry Communications Committee (AICC) on important legislation and regulations.

We expect to see either Congressional repeal of regulations that have harmed small businesses across the board, such as the employer overtime rule, or executive orders reversing prior orders that were implemented under the previous administration. 

ESA will monitor new federal grant opportunities for ESA members, especially in purchase, installation and maintenance of video surveillance systems and monitoring devices that could provide members with vertical market opportunities. The next year will bring new issues and activities from Washington, D.C., so be on the lookout and assist ESA and the industry if called upon to help your future business operations.

Tags:  Government Relations  legislation  U.S. Senate 

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ESA Supports Congressional Extension of Sunset for External Power Supply Rule

Posted By John Chwat, Director, Government Relations, Wednesday, December 14, 2016
Updated: Friday, December 16, 2016

As the 114th Congress winds down, ESA and other industry organizations secured unanimous passage of a bill by Rep.Mike Pompeo(R-KA) that sought to delay the sunset of an external power supply (EPS) regulation of the U.S. Department of Energy, which is set to expire July 1, 2017. Rep. Pompeo has been nominated by President-Elect Trump to head the CIA, and this was one of his final bills to be considered. HR 6375, the Power and Security Systems (PASS) Act, moved the sunset date from 2017 to 2023 for security, life safety alarm or surveillance systems that would have required these devices to be turned off for “energy efficiency purposes.”

The Congressman was joined on the House floor in a bipartisan manner with support from Rep. Welch (D-VT) who said that, “…security and life safety systems, such as video surveillance, intrusion, detection and access control systems have to be active all the time. This bill has the support of industry and efficiency advocates…it is a practical bill…a good bill.” Another member, Rep. Earl Carter(R-GA) said on the House floor during the debate that, “…the average home has 5 to 10 external power supplies and that number continues to grow…this bill would allow for the Department of Energy to classify External Power Supplies connected to security and safety systems differently than other types…” He continued, “By design external power supplies associated with a safety and security device are always in an active mode and simply do not have a no-load or inactive mode, which is why the distinction is needed.”

Rep. Pallone (D-NJ) also supported the exemption from Energy regulations as a “…common sense and consensus fix to a simple problem.” HR 6375 passed without opposition and was sent to the US Senate. At the end of the day, several Senators held up a major $1.2 trillion funding bill for the US government based on mineworker pension provisions. As the minutes ticked on to a virtual government shutdown, the Senators gave way and the funding bill passed. But in using up the valuable time that was allotted for legislative consideration in the Senate, HR 6375 was not considered.

Previously, ESA joined with the industry to secure a Congressional exemption for security and life safety products from certain provision of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which was aimed at increasing the energy efficiency requirements for battery chargers and EPS by establishing efficiency standards for EPS operating in certain modes including a “no load,” off mode. This exemption to the law was passed by the Congress and signed into Public law on January 4, 2011 (PL 111-360) with a sunset for the exemption of July 1, 2017. The exemption language included a definition of security, life safety alarm or surveillance system that included performance of the following functions on a continuous basis, “…Monitor, detect, record or provide notification of intrusion or access to real property or physical assets or notification of threats to life safety (including fire, gas, smoke, flooding or other physical threats...”

In 2017, the industry, including ESA, will be in an excellent position to reaffirm the legislative extension of the sunset provision since the US House has already passed this bill. We are optimistic the measure will receive broad support in Congress and an extension of the exemption will be enacted.

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ESA State Legislative/Regulatory Report – November 2016

Posted By Chris Heaton, Vice President, Membership and Chapter Relations, Monday, December 12, 2016

Through November 30, 2016 ESA tagged 242 bills for monitoring. Of these, 91 bills officially failed and were removed from the report. We also began to see the pre-filing of bills in certain states such as Arkansas and Texas with potential interest to members. One early theme in pre-filed bills and with bills that moved in November thus far is in workforce development. The following is a review of the bills with interest to members that moved during November.

Arkansas S 12 is a pre-filed 2017 bill that protects school security measures, including electronic security measures from public records. This bill applies to K-12 and college campuses in the state.

New Jersey A 2158 provides for appropriation for school security improvements. On November 21, 2016, the Assembly concurred with Senate amendments and it was sent to the Governor.

Ohio S 367 is a workforce development bill that updates references to federal code and updates high school programs among other changes

Texas S 154 is a pre-filed Texas bill that would authorize the Texas Workforce Commission and Texas Education Agency to establish and implement a technical education workforce specialist pilot program that would provide career services to students at public high schools in designated regions for the purpose of directing those students to high-demand, skilled occupations experiences workforce shortages in Texas. 

Texas S 237 would create a “dwelling technician license”, “general technician license” and “underground fire main technician license” with requisite training and education requirements. These would be new individual license requirements for fire licensing in Texas.  

 

For a complete list of bills in the November 2016 State Legislative Report, go to www.ESAweb.org/slr.  

Please contact Chris Heaton at Chris.Heaton@ESAweb.org or call 972.807.6815 if additional information is needed. 

 

Bill Summary*
Alarm 16
Apprenticeship 12
Call Center 2
CCTV/Video/Audio 11
Employer Liability 6
Environmental 14
Facility Security 10
Fire/Life Safety 48
Low Voltage 14
Regulatory 36
Taxation 5
Telecommunications 9
*Some bills cover multiple subject areas

 

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The New Administration, Congress and Marketing Opportunities for 2017

Posted By John Chwat, Director, Government Relations, Monday, December 12, 2016

After the new 115th Congress is sworn in on Tuesday, January 3rd, 2017 and after the president is sworn in on January 20th — seventeen days later —  priorities in the U.S. Congress and the federal government will change, which could create new opportunities for the security industry going forward.

From border security to infrastructure improvements, including electronic security upgrades that will help decrease threats to “soft targets” of terrorism— all will be included in the first President Trump budget. ESA published a series of reports called, “Follow the Money,” describing the process of federal funding that flows to states and then to local governments and lend themselves to security-related projects.

We have some indications about funding priorities for the next budget based on the Trump Administration’s first 100 days issues and the Congressional leadership statements. Some of these include funding for a “Restoring Communities Safety Act,” which focuses on reducing crime and increasing funding for public safety.

Both the Senate and House Judiciary Committee leadership and the Committee chairs that fund states and local governments are preparing for this bill very early on in the process. Another priority is a bill called, “Restoring National Security Act,” which will focus on rebuilding the military. But as we all know, after the transition from President Carter to the rebuilding of the U.S. military under President Reagan, there are many aspects to defense funding that find their way into contracts at the small-business level with the Department of Defense.

We have indications already from the Congressional Committees that fund and oversee Homeland Security, that in addition to the defense buildup, monies will be allocated to increase security and public safety against illegal immigration over the borders, criminal activity and much more. President-elect Trump in early December said that illegal immigration in his administration will be considered a “national security threat.” Regardless of the issues to be debated, Congress will likely support his priorities in these areas.

In addition, security upgrades and various federal grant programs that survive the first cuts under new administration leadership, will include electronic security components at the municipal, state and federal levels for urban districts and for infrastructure projects, from airports to bridges.

The timing to review opportunities is critical. Now is the time to look around your area, neighborhoods and state to see what type of residential, commercial or governmental structures might lend themselves to these efforts—a business district that needs video surveillance or other security monitoring, a housing project or townhouse development, bus or train terminals—anywhere that public safety is threatened.

Fiscal Year 2017 begins October 1. That is the regular cycle for federal funding of all programs. Congressional leadership has indicated that they will adhere next year to what is called “regular order,” which means that all 12 Appropriations bills will be completed by both the U.S. House and U.S. Senate at the end of July 2017 before the “summer break” in August for Congress. 

ESA will review these budgets and work with the industry to secure funds at whatever level to the state and local governments for public safety, anti-terrorism and other applications that will create vertical markets and increase public safety.

The final funding will be at the end of the year, but it is never too early to begin to think about vertical market opportunities in a new “environment” that is focused on military rebuilding and public safety.

 

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ESA Legislative Report- October 2016

Posted By Chris Heaton, Vice President, Membership and Chapter Relations, Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Through October 31, 2016 ESA tagged 238 bills for monitoring.  Of these, 86 bills officially failed and were removed from the report.  During October, we began tracking regulatory proposals on a limited basis.  Regulations are potentially as important to the electronic security industry and ESA has invested in the tracking software to monitor regulations at the state level.  While the process is different from state to state, as soon as proposed regulations are identified, they will be tagged and tracked as legislative proposals are today.  There will be variations from state to state that determine when proposed regulations become available or are made “visible” to the tracking software, but we will report on these proposals as they become known.  This report and those in the future will contain updates to regulations as they are reported and identified.  With regulatory proposals included, below are the following items of most interest.

California S 1196 amends the current Alarm Company Act regarding automatic renewal provisions.  The specific language of the bill states, “For agreements entered into on or after January 1, 2017, that include an automatic renewal provision renewing the agreement for a period of more than one month, a clear and distinct disclosure shall be included separate from the terms and conditions of the agreement advising the consumer that the agreement he or she is entering into contains an automatic renewal provision. The disclosure shall include the length of time of the renewal term and specify that failure to provide notification of nonrenewal to the licensee, as required in the agreement, will result in the automatic renewal of the agreement. The consumer shall acknowledge being advised of the automatic renewal provision by signing or initialing the disclosure.

The disclosure may be included on the same document as the three-day right to cancel form required by Section 1689.7 of the Civil Code. The automatic renewal provision shall be void and invalid without a separate acknowledgment of the disclosure by the consumer.”  This bill was passed and signed by the Governor on September 29, 2016.

The Florida Electrical Contractor’s Licensing Board (ECLB) recently adopted a rule change that extended the duration of a passing examination score and clarify the requirements for certified licensees seeking additional certifications.  The proposed rule was adopted on September 30, 2016.  See FAC 61G6-6.017.  Vol. 42, Issue 193, Florida Administrative Register 10/04/2016.

Michigan S 963, S 965, S 968 and S 971 are bills that restructure the licensing statutes for a number of trades, including electrical trades, which include fire and security systems.  These bills passed the Senate on October 20, 2016 and were sent to the House. 

New Jersey bills relating to school safety continued to move in October.  NJ A 3348, and A 3349, would enhance security measures on new school construction and require enhanced employee training with emergency responders, respectively.  The bills passed both houses and were sent to the Governor on October 20, 2016.

New Jersey A 2523 would change the five-year experience requirement to obtain an electrical contractors license to include formal apprenticeship and journey worker programs.  This bill was voted out of committee on October 7, 2016.

New Jersey A 4250 creates a criminal offense for unlicensed work as a locksmith within the Fire Alarm, Burglar Alarm and Locksmith Advisory Committee.  This bill was sent to the Regulated Professions committee on October 13, 2016.

New Jersey S 2639 was introduced on October 7, 2016 and is a bill that would require video monitoring in child care centers.  This bill was referred to the Committee on Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens.

New Jersey S 2694 was introduced on October 13, 2016 and this bill would establish a one-year moratorium on replacement of copper-based landline telephone with wireless service and it would require the Board of Public Utilities to report to the Governor and Legislature.

New Jersey Fire Alarm, Burglar Alarm, Locksmith Advisory Committee published a substantial number of proposed amendments to current rules on October 17, 2016.  Comment period ends on December 16, 2016.  For additional information, see Vol. 48, No. 20, New Jersey Register 10/17/2016 pp. -2092-2102.

Below is a complete list of bills in the October 2016 State Legislative Report.  Please contact Chris Heaton at Chris.Heaton@ESAweb.org or call 972.807.6815 if additional information is needed.

 

Bill Summary*
Alarm 18
Apprenticeship 10
Call Center 2
CCTV/Video/Audio 13
Employer Liability 6
Environmental 14
Facility Security 11
Fire/Life Safety 47
Low Voltage 14
Regulatory 34
Taxation 3
Telecommunications 10
*Some bills cover multiple subject areas

 

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