The Pennsylvania Burglar and Fire Alarm Association (PBFAA)
has stepped up its efforts against a bill in the state Senate that would
potentially void automatic renewals of alarm monitoring contracts, as well as
creating other issues with notification requirements, timing, retroactivity,
The bill, SB991, recently passed the state Senate
Appropriations Committee. A letter was sent to all Pennsylvania state senators on
June 21, signed by PBFAA Executive Director Dale Eller, asking for language
creating an exemption for fire and burglar alarm companies, similar to similar
legislation in California.
"While this is a good endeavor to protect consumers in
Pennsylvania, SB991 has unintended consequences for fire and burglar alarm
customers,” the letter states. "The value of a life safety alarm system is that
it is an ongoing, continuous uninterrupted service that our industry provides
to safeguard Pennsylvania
residents and businesses. Enacting
regulations that render the automatic renewal of fire and burglar alarm
contracts unenforceable under any conditions threatens the health, safety and
welfare of the very people and businesses we seek to protect. "
Fortunately, Eller says, the bill may encounter some slowed
momentum, since summer is traditionally a slack time for legislators as they
turn their attention to re-election. Also, since Pennsylvania is in the second
year of a two-year legislative term, the bill will die at the end of the
session if it does not pass both the state House and Senate and get signed into
law. But that doesn’t mean it can’t resurface again in the next session.
"Our hope is that there’s not enough momentum or time left
in this session for anything to occur,” he said. "But clearly we need to stay aware
of it, because when the next session starts, it could be reintroduced.” Even
then, he said, the process would have to start from the beginning, and any headway
made by the bill in this session would be moot.