February continued to be a very busy month of bill introduction and movement as most state legislatures continue.
Through February 29, 2016 ESA tagged 126 bills for monitoring. The following review will provide a brief summary of more closely watched bills.
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, however, as expected, there are opponents who want to minimize or eliminate the need for background checks. As of now the bill is pending.
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 would allow 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. Since our last report, the bill sponsor agreed to pull the amendment that was the cause of concern.
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. The bill was scheduled for a hearing on the floor of the house and at this point is still pending.
Kentucky HB 439 is the low voltage bill worked on with the Kentucky Department of Building, Housing and Construction (DHBC) and the low voltage industry to come up with licensing requirements that are reasonable and address the skill sets needed for different segments within the low voltage industry. The bill is pending. The Kentucky Chapter is very engaged with the DHBC.
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. An amendment was added to the House bill that would exempt telecommunication service providers, but the flawed exemption language for low voltage work is still in the bill. As it stands right now, the Senate bill will have to be amended with the telecommunications exemption and the House bill will have to be amended with the low Senate bill voltage exemption for this bill to pass in a way that is acceptable to the electronic security and other low voltage industries.
New Jersey AB 1972 updates the alarm licensing laws by adding definitions for access control, CCTV and other changes. This bill is controversial in that its language may have the effect of pulling in low voltage work that is not related to monitored security systems into the security licensing statutes.
Biometric Legislation – There are two bills that members should be aware of if involved in that space. CT HB 5326 and IL HB 6025 would both curtail the use of biometric (fingerprints, facial recognition, etc.) from use for commercial purposes except under strict circumstances.
Taxation – Members should also be aware of bills that would prompt potential expansion of market share if passed by providing tax credits for security and life safety systems. MD HB 1245 would provide an income tax credit for smoke and carbon monoxide systems and MD SB 728 would provide a tax credit for installation of sprinkler systems. See the State Legislative Report for similar bills.
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.