By John Chwat
ESA Director of Government Relations
undertaken many activities at federal and state levels over the years – often behind
the scenes – to help its members, Chartered Chapters and industry partners. However,
success in dealing with the government and the legislature can be measured in
achieving success does not necessarily come from getting bills passed into law.
Success can often be measured by how well the industry prevents bad bills from
becoming laws, or defeats efforts that would harm alarm and monitoring
instances serve as examples of preventing bad legislation from moving forward.
In Hawaii, ESA worked with member companies and trade associations to prevent
legislation that would have been detrimental to the industry. And in Georgia,
ESA worked closely with that state’s Chartered Chapter in a successful fight
against unfair competition.
opposing bad legislation requires vigilant monitoring and reporting at the
state level. There are a number of ways in which proposed legislation that is
harmful to the industry can move through the political process without
opposition. It’s important to understand a bill, its status, and various ways
in which it can be opposed.
this point several years ago after being warned about a bill in the Virginia legislature
that would tax customers of monitoring companies in order to pay for a "Line of
Duty” benefit for state employees. ESA alerted its Chartered Chapter, ESA of
Virginia (ESA-VA), and worked with other members of the industry to help defeat
also requires the ability to organize arguments and create networks that are
necessary to overcome support for bad laws. ESA assists state chapters in
networking with the industry in efforts that are often instrumental in
defeating harmful bills. There are numerous examples over the years, including
ESA’s testimony on behalf of the Pennsylvania Burglar and Fire Alarm
Association (PBFAA) at a legislative hearing for a licensing bill; and working
with Chartered Chapters in Ohio, Arizona and Vermont on their licensing
has been a great deal of success in other areas. ESA has vigorously represented
the life safety and alarm security industry, often by recommending legislative
and regulatory strategies at the national level to the Alarm Industry
Communications Committee (AICC).
ESA has also
worked with industry groups on many state and federal issues – most recently
with the Security Industry Association (SIA) in efforts to promote school
security and other bills pending in Congress and at the state levels.
constantly expanding its network of groups to deal with adverse legislation, reaching
out to custom electronic design companies, the consumer electronics industry,
satellite dish owners and manufacturers, and others. ESA has sponsored a number
of summit meetings in Dallas, including a gathering of fence, door and
locksmith organizations that focused on licensing. Most recently, ESA hosted a
state legislative summit of corporations and associations focused on industry
transition related to broadband and POTS.
important that elected officials, legislators, staff members and other
government leaders are aware of ESA, its members, and the interests of their
recently, we have worked with a number of federal agencies, including the
Department of Labor for approval of the apprenticeship program; the Department
of Homeland Security for ESA representation on an industry panel, the
Department of Defense in enabling military personnel who want to enter the
industry; and the Department of Justice seeking support for access to federal
background checks for ESA members.
relations advocacy is about defeating and passing legislation and regulations
that play a very important part in the business success of ESA members. Whether
this is accomplished by representing the industry annually in Congress during
Day on Capitol Hill, by watching and reporting what goes on the Washington, D.C.
and the state capitols around the country every day, or through other
initiatives, it requires a great deal of effort on everyone’s part.
continued vigilance and support play an important role in preventing unwanted
and unnecessary government interference – as well as promoting actions that
help protect the interests of members, families, customers, businesses and
John Chwat can be contacted at John@TheChwatGroup.com, or by phone at (703) 684-7703.