Posted By Administration,
Monday, October 7, 2013
By John Chwat
ESA Director of Government Relations
Until the first
session of the 113th Congress ends in late December, ESA is working on
a number of high-priority projects, many of which are being supported by the Security
Industry Association (SIA) and other allies. These include:
- House consideration of H.R.
1441, which would permit electronic security and life safety companies to
access the FBI background check database. Currently, 26 states do not have
background check provisions in their statutes. There are many hurdles in
this Congress regarding passage of any background check bill. Some Democratic
members have begun fighting the bill, citing a perceived impact on minority
employees, while the administration has supported background check bills
relating to gun control, which has virtually shut down any bills on this
The Senate version of the bill, S.1362, which is sponsored by Sen. Chuck Schumer
(D-N.Y.), is pending in the Senate Judiciary Committee. We are making
every effort to get this legislation passed in Congress before the end of
the next session in late 2014.
- Presenting to the
appropriate Congressional committees a federal grant program to school
districts for the purchase, installation and maintenance of security
technologies to protect schools and students. These technologies for
grants would include video surveillance cameras and other monitoring equipment;
electronic security panels; door security hardware; metal detectors; panic
buttons and any other deterrent technology.
Efforts earlier in the year to pass similar grant programs in the
Department of Justice did not pass because of gun control amendments.
There are pending bills that would lend themselves for these grants that
could be used as marketing opportunities by the industry. In the past
year, the Administration has proposed over $150 million in federal grants
for school security.
- If Congress considers
tax reform legislation in these final weeks, ESA is advocating that alarm
detection equipment be added to any fire sprinkler tax depreciation or
expense language currently being advocated by the National Fire
Sprinkler Association (NFSA) in Senate Bill 1163. This request by ESA to
the tax writing committees of Congress supports our "Balanced Approach”
position of "detection + suppression = fire protection.”
Congress may also try to include any changes to trade association
Unrelated Business Income Tax (UBIT) provisions, threatening royalties by
associations that are non-profit and tax-exempt as well as income from
mailing lists, advertisements and other unrelated activities. We are
coordinating our actions on this issue with the American Society of
Association Executives (ASAE), which represents trade and professional
- We are asking the Senate
Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP)Committee for its
consideration in reauthorizing the Older Americans Act, which supports a
voluntary approach for families and patients in nursing home
facilities to purchase, install and maintain surveillance cameras in
patient rooms to prevent elder abuse. In the past year, Oklahoma and
Virginia passed state laws on this issue, joining Texas and New Mexico
with their statutes. Similar state bills are now being debated in New
Jersey and New York.
ESA is advocating joint public hearings by the HELP Committee and the SenateSelect
Committee on Aging regarding a proposed federal regulation that would
permit video monitoring in nursing homes through the federal agency
that oversees nursing homes, as well as a possible pilot grant
program by the Department of Health and Human Services in states with
large numbers of nursing homes and elderly populations.
We continue to be vigilant regarding all
legislation and policies that could harm business operations of ESA members, and
are monitoring the details in a very complicated Congressional schedule during the
next three months.
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