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December is No Holiday for ESA Government Relations

Posted By John Chwat, ESA director of government relations, Monday, December 7, 2015
Updated: Tuesday, December 8, 2015
While December is known for holiday parties, it is a hectic time on Capitol Hill with the multi-trillion dollar federal budget a must pass by Dec. 11 and other last minute bills to consider. The ESA Government relations program is also hard at work supporting the industry in its priorities. The leadership of ESA – President Marshall Marinace, Past President John Knox, Vice President / President-Elect Angela White, Executive Director Merlin Guilbeau along with the Chwat Group – traveled to Washington, D.C. to discuss telecom issues with members of the U.S. House of Representatives, Senate and their respective staffs.

Dozens of meetings took place presenting ESA positions on protecting life safety and electronic security concerns in the coming IP transition. Issues were raised relating to battery (standby) back up for power outage standards, copper retirement procedures, complaints to the FCC on IP transitions and providing for a level playing field with consumers and business opportunities for ESA and the industry in the transitional periods. ESA also emphasized the importance of new technology performing as reliably for consumers as the “old TDM” network; no new technology unless it is tested and proven to work. Following these meetings, AICC held its industry meeting on Dec. 3.

On Dec. 7, we participated in a 2016 federal government relations strategy session with colleagues from SIA, Honeywell, Tyco, and many others reviewing legislative and policy decisions on school security federal grants, bills, and issues impacting security businesses.

During the week of Dec. 1, Rep. Rick Larsen (D-WA) agreed to co-chair the School Safety Caucus with Rep. Susan Brooks (R-IN) to help raise awareness of the lack of school safety. The committee will focus on common sense solutions to help curb the ongoing attacks on students, teachers, staff, and community members in K-12 schools across the country. Over the last few months, ESA and SIA have worked with Rep. Larsen and Rep. Brooks to show support for the bill and urge the need for the caucus to bring to light new technology solutions to keep our schools safe. After the caucus is registered, ESA will work with staff to help get more members to sign onto the caucus. Rep. Larsen introduced HR. 2667, The School Safety Act. Rep. Brooks is a co-sponsor of the legislation. ESA undertook a major effort earlier this year to help gain support for H.R. 2667. The bill would reauthorize the school security matching grants under the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968. This new School Safety Caucus and the multi-association are both major steps forward to bring common sense technology focused solutions to the discussion for keeping schools safe.

December does have its holiday season, and of course, Congress will adjourn for the year within time to celebrate Christmas and New Year’s. But they will be back, Jan. 6, to begin their Second Session for the 2016 calendar year which will host a new election season and the process starts all over again. Happy Holidays!

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