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ESA Presses Busy Legislative Agenda Through End of the Year

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 subject.

    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 associations nationwide.
  • 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.

Tags:  federal legislation  legislation 

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