In just the first month of 2013, bills have introduced in a number of states relating to a wide range of industry-related issues.
It reads like a hit list of what’s important to you and your business: certification and testing requirements for licensure; automatic contract renewals; installation of fire sprinklers; requirements for smoke and CO detection systems in residences; standards for alarm verification; creation of tax credits for purchase and installation of security devices; and regulation of CCTV installations in nursing homes and multiple dwellings.
Even more ominous are major initiatives nationwide by telephone companies that would negatively impact the industry. For example, AT&T is pushing legislation in a number of states that will affect licensing or services performed within those states. In the closing months of 2012, AT&T ramrodded two bills through Michigan’s legislature that effectively rewrote licensing laws in that state.
Collectively, these bills have the potential to create a seismic wave in our industry. So the choice is simple: Sit back and hope that others take action, or find out how you can mobilize to make a difference.
John Chwat, ESA’s director of Government Relations, offers three specific ways in which you can make an impact:
- Be aware of legislation and any potential challenge it poses. Knowledge is power, and ESA's Government Relations program tracks bills in all 50 states through monthly State Legislative Reports included in the Government Insider newsletter, and at www.ESAweb.org/SLR. It only takes a minute to download the report and learn what’s going on in your state.
- Take action. Chwat says it’s crucial for everyone – you, your colleagues, employees, customers, family, friends, and anybody else you can mobilize – to inform elected officials and their staffs how proposed bills will help or hurt your business and our industry.
- Don’t wait. State legislatures occasionally move with surprising speed, Chwat says, and the window of opportunity closes before you know it. In Michigan, the bills were introduced in September and were signed into law by December, thanks to considerable pressure by AT&T. The game was over almost as quickly as it began.
Chwat emphasizes that ESA member businesses and the electronic security industry are always potential targets, more so now than ever. The good news is, your participation can actually make a difference in the outcome.