By John Chwat
Security Association (ESA) members and industry supporters know the situation
all too well: When state legislatures convene early next year, there is always
the possibility that some legislation, policy or action will impact their business
147,860 bills have been introduced in the 50 state legislatures in 2013, with
only 21,500 being enacted into law. Since there are more than 7,382 state
legislators, these are incredible statistics that clearly show the enormous
reach that thousands of bills, whether introduced or enacted, have on citizens.
It also indicates that influencing such a large number of elected officials is
all state legislatures for key bills that directly impact our membership, reporting
on these bills in a monthly State Legislative Report available on the
association website. The association also interacts with industry and other
allied groups relating to state bills that effect the way security firms
conduct business with the general public.
It seems the
work is never done. Some state legislatures are in session until the fall, such
as Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania
and Wisconsin (a full schedule is available on page 15). In fact, legislators often
use "prefiled bills” in which legislation is developed and introduced even
before a state legislature officially starts its business for the year, usually
giving a "heads-up” to legislators and lobbyists on their impact.
This past year
has seen some very interesting and critical state activities that impact ESA and
its members. Numerous state bills have been introduced by telephone companies
that seek to change or propose licensing revisions for the electronic industry.
Several of these efforts are well known, such as Florida, Michigan and
Virginia. AT&T was active in passing a bill in Delaware (S.B. 79) exempting
from any regulation any person, owner, employee or manager who does not
perform”… functions at the end user’s premises … if their duties are limited to
selling electronic security equipment or services at a retail store location, online
or by telephone.” It is anticipated that similar bills might be introduced next
was another "new” series of bills relating to "mercury thermostats,” or "smart
thermostats.” For example, no fewer than five bills in Massachusetts and three in
New York set requirements for retail and
wholesale sellers of thermostats that sense and control room temperatures
through communication with heating, ventilation or AC equipment.
trend to watch for next year is inclusion of more security and industry devices
and equipment in the growing "e-waste” movement. Originally focused on "box
store” consumer electronics, some legislators have sought to expand the list of
equipment subject to environmental regulation.
worked closely this year with Chartered Chapters, individuals and industry
supporters on a host of state bills that impact business operations of our
members. They covered subjects such as fire sprinklers and suppression systems
in residences, licensing and regulation requirements, tax credits, tax
increases and sales tax impacts, automatic contract renewal, video monitoring
and surveillance issues, electronic monitoring, biometrics, background checks,
school security support for acquiring security technology systems, CCTV in
nursing homes, false alarms, locksmith licensing … the list goes on.
imperative for ESA and the industry to be vigilant when state legislatures are
in session. No one is safe.