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ESA of Missouri Moves Forward with State Licensing Efforts

Posted By Bob Ogle, Monday, August 13, 2012

ESA of Missouri has created a State Licensing Committee with the goal of getting licensing legislation passed in the January-May 2013 state legislative session, and has asked for the national association's assistance in those efforts.

The eight-member committee is reviewing a bill that Missouri's Chartered Chapter submitted as legislation several years ago, as well as a number of licensing statutes from states such as Arizona and Illinois. "We’re in the process of comparing the laws, and seeing if there’s anything that might be missing in ours,” said ESA of Missouri Secretary John Butler.

In the most recent legislative session, ESA of Missouri successfully resisted an effort by union and non-union electricians to create licensing requirements that also would have included alarm industry professionals. Being a part of that bill was unacceptable, Butler said, because "the last thing we want is to be represented by electricians who basically want to take work from us, but don’t have the necessary skills or background.”

For the upcoming legislative session, he said, there are two options being reviewed. One is to take another run at getting a licensing bill passed specifically for the alarm industry with the help of a lobbyist, totally exclusive of the electricians; and the second is to work with the union electricians to see if the alarm industry can find a way to attach appropriate wording to their bill and maintain professional autonomy.

"Ideally, we’d like to have our own licensing bill with requirements that are made for our industry on a statewide basis,” Butler said. "It would include national background tests, and some sort of a skill set level or apprenticeship program. That’s what we’re aiming at.”

But Butler says it’s difficult to fight the electrician union’s bill because the union carries a great deal of strength legislatively in the state, and defeating it would require a huge amount of effort and resources.

"The (licensing) group decided that we could go along with something attached to the electricians union, if that’s legislatively possible and is the easier route,” he said. "We’re not opposed to being part of their legislation, but it has to have a separate class for the fire and burglar alarm contractors. That classification would include skill set requirements as well as criminal background checks.”

"We can do it on our own if that’s not possible,” he added. "Either way works for us.”

Missouri’s Chartered Chapter is working closely with ESA to reach out to the industry on this campaign. Comments and suggestions can be directed to Butler at johnbatbutler@sbcglobal.net, and copied to ESA Director of Government Relations John Chwat at John.Chwat@chwatco.com.

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