January is a typically busy month for State Legislation and this month did not disappoint. Thirty-nine State Legislatures convened or were in session during January and ESA reviewed hundreds of bills to determine their potential impact on the electronic security and life safety industry.
Through Jan. 31, 2016, ESA tagged 96 bills for monitoring. And, as promised the State Legislative Report has taken on a different look for 2016. Our hope is that you will find it more useful as you review legislation. Some of the changes you will notice are:
- Table format – The table format will make it easier to browse to your state or states of interest and see important data points about specific bills. Those data points include the bill’s priority level, disposition and subject area(s). The bill summary will provide a broad overview of the bill purpose and/or intent.
- Priority Level – Bills are assigned a priority level based on their potential impact on the industry, positive or negative. High priority bills are bolded for easier and quicker reference. Priority levels on bills could change from month to month depending on movement and amendments offered, so it is important to note that a seemingly low priority subject may be offset by language within a bill that deserves closer attention from members who do business in that state.
- Disposition – The current disposition of the bill as of the date of the report will be provided for easy reference and attention as warranted.
- Subject – The number of broad subject areas was condensed to give you the ability to find bills of particular interest more easily.
- Hyperlinked Bills – On some higher priority bills with more potential for movement, we will provide a hyperlink directly to the state legislature website in order for you to review the latest information available on a particular bill.
Bill Review – We now turn our attention to bills of particular interest that are of higher priority and with recent movement.
In Arizona, SB 1162 was filed to change the fingerprint requirements through the Bureau of Technical Registration (BTR). This legislation is supported by the Arizona Alarm Association and the BTR.
Florida SB 768 was initially filed to create a uniform permit registration process where required at the local level. However, the bill sponsor offered a substitute that allows an alarm system customer to give authority to a central station to dispatch an alarm signal directly to a public safety answering point (PSAP) without going through the enhanced alarm verification steps with the customer. This amended language is not supported by the ESA of Florida, the Florida Police Chiefs Association or other groups concerned about an increase in false alarms. Our latest information is that the amendment with this language was pulled from consideration.
Georgia HB 593 is a low voltage continuing education bill that is supported by the ESA Chapter in Georgia. This bill would mandate just four hours of annual continuing education for low voltage contractors. An amendment to the bill exempting electrical contractors who maintain minimal continuing education requirements for their license was recently added.
Indiana SB 312 would have created an electrical advisory board that included licensing of an electrical system that involved “signaling”, yet had no low voltage exemption language for the electronic security industry. This bill appears to be dead as it did not make the cross over deadline (move from one chamber to another).
Massachusetts HB 3846 would streamline the permitting requirements for alarm system installations. Currently, there are 351 municipalities with their own permitting requirements and some jurisdictions that require up to three (3) different permits for one system installation. As filed, this bill would establish one, locally managed permit for low-voltage alarm systems. This bill is supported by alarm industry leaders in Massachusetts and was endorsed by the ESA Government Relations Committee as filed.
Missouri HB 2063/SB 773 would create an electrical licensing board in that state. SB 773 contains industry supported low voltage exemption language; however, the filed version of HB 2063 contains flawed exemption language that could subject the low voltage industry to licensing requirements by this electrical board. The ESA Chapter in Missouri is working to get that flawed language corrected.
New Jersey AB 1972 updates the alarm licensing laws by adding definitions for access control, CCTV and other changes. Our New Jersey Chapter is aware of the bill and working with the bill sponsor on the updated language as needed.
Washington SB 6581 makes substantial changes to the specialty electrical apprenticeship program. The Washington Chapter was notified and is reviewing the bill.
The following is a breakdown of broad categories of all bills being monitored by ESA. Please do not hesitate to contact us at (972) 807-6815 if you have any questions about legislation in your state.