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
"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 firstname.lastname@example.org, and copied
to ESA Director of Government Relations John Chwat at John.Chwat@chwatco.com.