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Congress Moving Quickly on Legislation in 2017

Posted By John Chwat, Director, Government Relations, Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Telecommunication Bills Predicted to Pass Soon with More Waiting in the Wings

Congress has been in session for less than 60 days and it is astonishing how rapidly legislation is being introduced and moved through.

Some bills move to “suspensions” in less than two weeks in the House and pass, usually by a unanimous voice vote, before moving on to the U.S. Senate.

For example, HR511, or The PASS Act, was introduced by Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT) and co-sponsored by Rep. Brooks (R-IN). This bill is particularly important to our industry, as it extends the exemption from External Power Supply requirements for life safety, alarm or surveillance systems from July 1, 2017 to July 1, 2023. It passed the U.S. House Jan. 23 and was then sent to the Senate for final consideration. This legislation was passed in the House last year but did not pass in the Senate.

A similar bill, S.190, was introduced in the Senate and then referred to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. It is expected that this legislation will go to the White House for signature into Public Law very soon.

Other bills presented, include three telecommunications bills which passed the U.S. House on Jan. 23 as well. All three bills were considered last session, but did not receive final approval.

The “Anti-Spoofing” Act, HR 423, which passed by a vote of 398 to 5, extends the provision of the Truth in Caller ID Act to include text messaging and VoIP services. The text messaging definition does not include:

 

“…a real-time, two-way voice or video communication; or a message sent over an IP-enabled messaging service to another user of the same messaging service . . .”

 

The bill seeks to have the Federal Trade Commission work with the Federal Communications Commission to develop consumer education materials on ID scams. The new Chair of the House Communications and Technology Subcommittee, Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), coordinated House passage of these bills.

HR588, “Securing Access to Networks in Disasters,” passed without opposition. This bill would require the FCC to conduct a study on the feasibility and benefits of making Wifi access points available to the general public for access to 911 services during times of emergency.

Another bill, HR 582, “Kari’s Law,” passed by a vote of 408 to 0, addresses the configuration of 911 calls to first responders. All of these bills have Senate counterparts, and all were successfully considered and passed in the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee Jan. 24, the following day.

Again, it is anticipated that these bills will pass Congress very soon, with more telecommunication legislations waiting in the wings.

To prepare for the battles ahead, ESA lists the new U.S. House Communications and Technology Subcommittee members for the 155thCongress (2017-2018).

 

Republican Members

Marsha Blackburn(Tennessee - 07)- Chairman
Leonard Lance (New Jersey - 07) - Vice Chairman
John Shimkus (Illinois - 15)
Steve Scalise (Louisiana - 01)
Robert Latta (Ohio - 05)
Brett Guthrie (Kentucky - 02)
Pete Olson (Texas - 22)
Adam Kinzinger (Illinois - 16)
Gus Bilirakis (Florida - 12)
Bill Johnson (Ohio - 06)
Billy Long (Missouri - 07)
Bill Flores (Texas - 17)
Susan Brooks (Indiana - 05)
Chris Collins (New York - 27)
Kevin Cramer (North Dakota - 00)
Mimi Walters (California - 45)
Ryan Costello (Pennsylvania - 06)
Greg Walden (Oregon - 02) - Ex Officio
 

Democratic Members

Michael Doyle (Pennsylvania - 14) - Ranking Member
Peter Welch (Vermont - 00)
Yvette Clarke (New York - 09)
David Loebsack (Iowa - 02)
Raul Ruiz (California - 36)
Debbie Dingell (Michigan - 12)
Bobby Rush (Illinois - 01)
Anna Eshoo (California - 18)
Eliot Engel (New York - 16)
G. K. Butterfield (North Carolina - 01)
Doris Matsui (California - 06)

Jerry McNerney (California - 09)
Frank Pallone (New Jersey - 06) - Ex Officio

_______________________________________

 

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2016 State Legislative Recap

Posted By Chris Heaton, Vice President, Membership and Chapter Relations, Tuesday, January 17, 2017
Updated: Wednesday, January 18, 2017

ESA implemented a new and more robust strategy regarding state legislative and regulatory advocacy in 2016. Through November, ESA contacted chapters and/or National Company members on over 70 bills or proposed regulations of the 242 bills and proposed regulations that were tagged for monitoring. Interaction with state chapters and National companies is one of the most important aspects of advocacy for the electronic security industry. Many positive and negative proposals are introduced in state legislatures and it is vitally important that members become engaged in the process to protect their business and viability in the market place. We will review some significant measures where ESA and its members engaged in advocacy to make a difference.

In 2015 Arkansas rewrote its security licensing laws, abolished the regulatory board that oversees alarm licensing and handed administrative control to the Arkansas State Police (ASP). After the law went into effect, it was quickly noted that current license holders were being denied renewals because the language that allowed the board to review applications and mitigate the circumstances of past misdemeanor offenses was removed. The ASP had no statutory authority to issue licenses for any renewal or new application from a person who had a conviction for Class A misdemeanors, no matter how long ago the offense was committed or how long the applicant had previously been licensed. 

This impacted numerous license holders who were now being forced from their jobs for misdemeanors they committed 20 to 30 years ago and despite the fact they were licensed for many years prior to the renewal. Two bills were filed in a special session to correct the language and put into place a statute of limitations for certain offenses. H 1004b and S 6b both passed during the special session with the assistance of several ESA National Company members.

In California an omnibus bill was amended to include language that would force substantial changes to alarm system contracts. ESA notified the California Alarm Association of this “hidden” amendment and the chapter quickly mobilized to address the issue. The amendment was eventually stripped from that bill and added it to another bill, S 1196 but it included changes that were acceptable to the CAA and this version eventually passed.

Delaware H 394 was introduced in June 2016 and proposed a complete re-write of the licensing requirements in that state.  With no affiliated chapter in that state, ESA notified National Company members who became engaged on the bill.  This bill was amended and passed the House, but it stalled and died in the Senate. 

In Illinois, S 2837 proposed to amend the smoke detector act but did not contain exemption language for monitored, low frequency wireless detectors as seen in other states with similar legislation.  ESA informed the Illinois chapter and National Company members. Amended language was offered and the bill is still pending.

With the simple addition of a phrase within a bill, Louisiana S 336, would have required all contractors who perform low-voltage installations (including alarm systems) over a certain dollar threshold, to become licensed as electrical contractors.  The chapter was successful in stalling the bill, which eventually failed.

ESA worked with National Company members on “Buy American” bills to ensure proper “life safety” exemptions were included in such legislation. Maine S 587 was one such bill, which our National Company members were successful in having the proper exemption included, however, the bill did not pass. 

Several potentially impactful bills were introduced in Massachusetts that resulted in numerous communications with ESA members and other trade associations. One bill, H 242 would have subjected wireless systems to new permitting requirements. ESA National Company members were heavily engaged in opposition to this legislation and it did not move after passing the first committee. 

Another bill was introduced that would streamline the permitting process in Massachusetts and explicitly exempt wireless systems from permitting requirements. This bill was re-drafted and issued a new bill number two different times, but now sits within H 4547. It passed the House but did not move past the Senate Rules Committee.

Yet another amendment, found within municipal finance bills in Massachusetts, H 4419 and H 2410, proposed to create a security systems commission to study electronic security licensing issues in the state. The original version of this bill was heavily laden with industry insiders and was obviously created to stunt the emerging technology that is entering the market and penalize dealers who market wireless and other more advanced security systems. ESA members became heavily engaged in this legislation and at one point had an amendment that would put an ESA member on the commission.  The amendment was eventually stripped from the bill.

In Maryland, a “home improvement” consumer protection bill, H 439, was introduced that extended the right to cancel contracts initiated by door-to-door sales from 3 to 5 days and from 5 to 10 days for customers over 65 years of age. There was no exemption for electronic security or life safety sales in the original bill.  National Company members became engaged and added an exemption for life safety system sales and this bill eventually passed with that amended language.

Other bills that ESA worked with members at the chapter and National Company level, but were not successful getting passed include Arizona S 1162, which updated the fingerprint card submission requirements in a way that was supported by the chapter and National Company members. Connecticut S 239 was introduced to reduce false alarms by providing enhanced call confirmation protocols and authorize local governments to enact false alarm fee ordinances. Georgia H 593 was a chapter supported continuing education bill for low-voltage contractors. This bill failed in the short session but will be re-introduced in 2017.

ESA was also engaged with several electrical licensing bills that were introduced and worked with members and other low-voltage industry groups to ensure that proper low voltage exemption language existed. In Indiana an electrical licensing bill, S 312, did not contain the low voltage exemption language. ESA worked with the chapter, National Company members and other low voltage industry organizations to fight this legislation or have the needed exemption language added.  The bill did not pass. In Kentucky, ESA worked very closely with the Department of Housing, Buildings and Construction (DHBC) the Kentucky ESA and National companies to craft legislation that was acceptable to ESA members and the low-voltage industry.  H 239 was eventually introduced, but it came too late in the session to have a chance to pass.  It is believed this legislation will be re-introduced in 2017. And, in Missouri an electrical licensing bill H 2063, was introduced, but did contain the ESA approved low-voltage exemption language. However, its Senate companion bill had faulty exemption language and as a result, both bills failed.

ESA also engaged members when bills that create vertical markets as well as provide greater public safety to vulnerable populations, such as school security upgrades, were filed.  New Jersey A 2158 was one such bill that would provide appropriations for school security improvement. This bill eventually passed and was sent to the Governor on 11.21.2016. 

ESA was also engaged with chapters and National Company members on bills that touched on different segments of electronic security and life safety. Numerous bills updated smoke and carbon monoxide detector and alarm requirements.  ESA monitored and informed chapters on 33 bills in 18 states on such legislation. Through November 2016, 9 of these bills were enacted into law.

Another topic that drew legislative action through the year was video monitoring in long-term care facilities and other facilities with vulnerable populations such as day care facilities. There were 14 bills filed in 10 states on this segment of the industry, with 3 of those bills enacted into law. 

During 2016, 43 bills that ESA tagged for monitoring and dissemination to members were enacted into law. Most will have little impact on your day-to-day responsibilities, but it is important to know because it is your business. Do you?

We expect 2017 to be equally active for proposed legislation and regulations that impact the industry. There will likely be more legislation that will address privacy concerns (i.e. biometric and electronic surveillance), facility security, monitoring in long-term facilities, a continuation of carbon monoxide and smoke detector/alarm related bills as well as changes to the regulatory environment in a number of states.  As always, ESA will continue with timely reporting and engagement to protect the interests of the industry and the public it serves.  

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UPDATE: ESA Activity in Congress

Posted By John Chwat, Director, Government Relations, Tuesday, January 17, 2017

ESA will continue to monitor a broad range of issues we believe Congress will consider as it begins the 115th Congressional session (2017-18).

Working with the new leadership in the House and Senate, we will focus on the Federal Communications Commission actions that touch on the electronic security and life safety industry, collaborating with the Alarm Industry Communications Committee (AICC) on important legislation and regulations.

We expect to see either Congressional repeal of regulations that have harmed small businesses across the board, such as the employer overtime rule, or executive orders reversing prior orders that were implemented under the previous administration. 

ESA will monitor new federal grant opportunities for ESA members, especially in purchase, installation and maintenance of video surveillance systems and monitoring devices that could provide members with vertical market opportunities. The next year will bring new issues and activities from Washington, D.C., so be on the lookout and assist ESA and the industry if called upon to help your future business operations.

Tags:  Government Relations  legislation  U.S. Senate 

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ESA Supports Congressional Extension of Sunset for External Power Supply Rule

Posted By John Chwat, Director, Government Relations, Wednesday, December 14, 2016
Updated: Friday, December 16, 2016

As the 114th Congress winds down, ESA and other industry organizations secured unanimous passage of a bill by Rep.Mike Pompeo(R-KA) that sought to delay the sunset of an external power supply (EPS) regulation of the U.S. Department of Energy, which is set to expire July 1, 2017. Rep. Pompeo has been nominated by President-Elect Trump to head the CIA, and this was one of his final bills to be considered. HR 6375, the Power and Security Systems (PASS) Act, moved the sunset date from 2017 to 2023 for security, life safety alarm or surveillance systems that would have required these devices to be turned off for “energy efficiency purposes.”

The Congressman was joined on the House floor in a bipartisan manner with support from Rep. Welch (D-VT) who said that, “…security and life safety systems, such as video surveillance, intrusion, detection and access control systems have to be active all the time. This bill has the support of industry and efficiency advocates…it is a practical bill…a good bill.” Another member, Rep. Earl Carter(R-GA) said on the House floor during the debate that, “…the average home has 5 to 10 external power supplies and that number continues to grow…this bill would allow for the Department of Energy to classify External Power Supplies connected to security and safety systems differently than other types…” He continued, “By design external power supplies associated with a safety and security device are always in an active mode and simply do not have a no-load or inactive mode, which is why the distinction is needed.”

Rep. Pallone (D-NJ) also supported the exemption from Energy regulations as a “…common sense and consensus fix to a simple problem.” HR 6375 passed without opposition and was sent to the US Senate. At the end of the day, several Senators held up a major $1.2 trillion funding bill for the US government based on mineworker pension provisions. As the minutes ticked on to a virtual government shutdown, the Senators gave way and the funding bill passed. But in using up the valuable time that was allotted for legislative consideration in the Senate, HR 6375 was not considered.

Previously, ESA joined with the industry to secure a Congressional exemption for security and life safety products from certain provision of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which was aimed at increasing the energy efficiency requirements for battery chargers and EPS by establishing efficiency standards for EPS operating in certain modes including a “no load,” off mode. This exemption to the law was passed by the Congress and signed into Public law on January 4, 2011 (PL 111-360) with a sunset for the exemption of July 1, 2017. The exemption language included a definition of security, life safety alarm or surveillance system that included performance of the following functions on a continuous basis, “…Monitor, detect, record or provide notification of intrusion or access to real property or physical assets or notification of threats to life safety (including fire, gas, smoke, flooding or other physical threats...”

In 2017, the industry, including ESA, will be in an excellent position to reaffirm the legislative extension of the sunset provision since the US House has already passed this bill. We are optimistic the measure will receive broad support in Congress and an extension of the exemption will be enacted.

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ESA State Legislative/Regulatory Report – November 2016

Posted By Chris Heaton, Vice President, Membership and Chapter Relations, Monday, December 12, 2016

Through November 30, 2016 ESA tagged 242 bills for monitoring. Of these, 91 bills officially failed and were removed from the report. We also began to see the pre-filing of bills in certain states such as Arkansas and Texas with potential interest to members. One early theme in pre-filed bills and with bills that moved in November thus far is in workforce development. The following is a review of the bills with interest to members that moved during November.

Arkansas S 12 is a pre-filed 2017 bill that protects school security measures, including electronic security measures from public records. This bill applies to K-12 and college campuses in the state.

New Jersey A 2158 provides for appropriation for school security improvements. On November 21, 2016, the Assembly concurred with Senate amendments and it was sent to the Governor.

Ohio S 367 is a workforce development bill that updates references to federal code and updates high school programs among other changes

Texas S 154 is a pre-filed Texas bill that would authorize the Texas Workforce Commission and Texas Education Agency to establish and implement a technical education workforce specialist pilot program that would provide career services to students at public high schools in designated regions for the purpose of directing those students to high-demand, skilled occupations experiences workforce shortages in Texas. 

Texas S 237 would create a “dwelling technician license”, “general technician license” and “underground fire main technician license” with requisite training and education requirements. These would be new individual license requirements for fire licensing in Texas.  

 

For a complete list of bills in the November 2016 State Legislative Report, go to www.ESAweb.org/slr.  

Please contact Chris Heaton at Chris.Heaton@ESAweb.org or call 972.807.6815 if additional information is needed. 

 

Bill Summary*
Alarm 16
Apprenticeship 12
Call Center 2
CCTV/Video/Audio 11
Employer Liability 6
Environmental 14
Facility Security 10
Fire/Life Safety 48
Low Voltage 14
Regulatory 36
Taxation 5
Telecommunications 9
*Some bills cover multiple subject areas

 

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The New Administration, Congress and Marketing Opportunities for 2017

Posted By John Chwat, Director, Government Relations, Monday, December 12, 2016

After the new 115th Congress is sworn in on Tuesday, January 3rd, 2017 and after the president is sworn in on January 20th — seventeen days later —  priorities in the U.S. Congress and the federal government will change, which could create new opportunities for the security industry going forward.

From border security to infrastructure improvements, including electronic security upgrades that will help decrease threats to “soft targets” of terrorism— all will be included in the first President Trump budget. ESA published a series of reports called, “Follow the Money,” describing the process of federal funding that flows to states and then to local governments and lend themselves to security-related projects.

We have some indications about funding priorities for the next budget based on the Trump Administration’s first 100 days issues and the Congressional leadership statements. Some of these include funding for a “Restoring Communities Safety Act,” which focuses on reducing crime and increasing funding for public safety.

Both the Senate and House Judiciary Committee leadership and the Committee chairs that fund states and local governments are preparing for this bill very early on in the process. Another priority is a bill called, “Restoring National Security Act,” which will focus on rebuilding the military. But as we all know, after the transition from President Carter to the rebuilding of the U.S. military under President Reagan, there are many aspects to defense funding that find their way into contracts at the small-business level with the Department of Defense.

We have indications already from the Congressional Committees that fund and oversee Homeland Security, that in addition to the defense buildup, monies will be allocated to increase security and public safety against illegal immigration over the borders, criminal activity and much more. President-elect Trump in early December said that illegal immigration in his administration will be considered a “national security threat.” Regardless of the issues to be debated, Congress will likely support his priorities in these areas.

In addition, security upgrades and various federal grant programs that survive the first cuts under new administration leadership, will include electronic security components at the municipal, state and federal levels for urban districts and for infrastructure projects, from airports to bridges.

The timing to review opportunities is critical. Now is the time to look around your area, neighborhoods and state to see what type of residential, commercial or governmental structures might lend themselves to these efforts—a business district that needs video surveillance or other security monitoring, a housing project or townhouse development, bus or train terminals—anywhere that public safety is threatened.

Fiscal Year 2017 begins October 1. That is the regular cycle for federal funding of all programs. Congressional leadership has indicated that they will adhere next year to what is called “regular order,” which means that all 12 Appropriations bills will be completed by both the U.S. House and U.S. Senate at the end of July 2017 before the “summer break” in August for Congress. 

ESA will review these budgets and work with the industry to secure funds at whatever level to the state and local governments for public safety, anti-terrorism and other applications that will create vertical markets and increase public safety.

The final funding will be at the end of the year, but it is never too early to begin to think about vertical market opportunities in a new “environment” that is focused on military rebuilding and public safety.

 

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ESA Legislative Report- October 2016

Posted By Chris Heaton, Vice President, Membership and Chapter Relations, Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Through October 31, 2016 ESA tagged 238 bills for monitoring.  Of these, 86 bills officially failed and were removed from the report.  During October, we began tracking regulatory proposals on a limited basis.  Regulations are potentially as important to the electronic security industry and ESA has invested in the tracking software to monitor regulations at the state level.  While the process is different from state to state, as soon as proposed regulations are identified, they will be tagged and tracked as legislative proposals are today.  There will be variations from state to state that determine when proposed regulations become available or are made “visible” to the tracking software, but we will report on these proposals as they become known.  This report and those in the future will contain updates to regulations as they are reported and identified.  With regulatory proposals included, below are the following items of most interest.

California S 1196 amends the current Alarm Company Act regarding automatic renewal provisions.  The specific language of the bill states, “For agreements entered into on or after January 1, 2017, that include an automatic renewal provision renewing the agreement for a period of more than one month, a clear and distinct disclosure shall be included separate from the terms and conditions of the agreement advising the consumer that the agreement he or she is entering into contains an automatic renewal provision. The disclosure shall include the length of time of the renewal term and specify that failure to provide notification of nonrenewal to the licensee, as required in the agreement, will result in the automatic renewal of the agreement. The consumer shall acknowledge being advised of the automatic renewal provision by signing or initialing the disclosure.

The disclosure may be included on the same document as the three-day right to cancel form required by Section 1689.7 of the Civil Code. The automatic renewal provision shall be void and invalid without a separate acknowledgment of the disclosure by the consumer.”  This bill was passed and signed by the Governor on September 29, 2016.

The Florida Electrical Contractor’s Licensing Board (ECLB) recently adopted a rule change that extended the duration of a passing examination score and clarify the requirements for certified licensees seeking additional certifications.  The proposed rule was adopted on September 30, 2016.  See FAC 61G6-6.017.  Vol. 42, Issue 193, Florida Administrative Register 10/04/2016.

Michigan S 963, S 965, S 968 and S 971 are bills that restructure the licensing statutes for a number of trades, including electrical trades, which include fire and security systems.  These bills passed the Senate on October 20, 2016 and were sent to the House. 

New Jersey bills relating to school safety continued to move in October.  NJ A 3348, and A 3349, would enhance security measures on new school construction and require enhanced employee training with emergency responders, respectively.  The bills passed both houses and were sent to the Governor on October 20, 2016.

New Jersey A 2523 would change the five-year experience requirement to obtain an electrical contractors license to include formal apprenticeship and journey worker programs.  This bill was voted out of committee on October 7, 2016.

New Jersey A 4250 creates a criminal offense for unlicensed work as a locksmith within the Fire Alarm, Burglar Alarm and Locksmith Advisory Committee.  This bill was sent to the Regulated Professions committee on October 13, 2016.

New Jersey S 2639 was introduced on October 7, 2016 and is a bill that would require video monitoring in child care centers.  This bill was referred to the Committee on Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens.

New Jersey S 2694 was introduced on October 13, 2016 and this bill would establish a one-year moratorium on replacement of copper-based landline telephone with wireless service and it would require the Board of Public Utilities to report to the Governor and Legislature.

New Jersey Fire Alarm, Burglar Alarm, Locksmith Advisory Committee published a substantial number of proposed amendments to current rules on October 17, 2016.  Comment period ends on December 16, 2016.  For additional information, see Vol. 48, No. 20, New Jersey Register 10/17/2016 pp. -2092-2102.

Below is a complete list of bills in the October 2016 State Legislative Report.  Please contact Chris Heaton at Chris.Heaton@ESAweb.org or call 972.807.6815 if additional information is needed.

 

Bill Summary*
Alarm 18
Apprenticeship 10
Call Center 2
CCTV/Video/Audio 13
Employer Liability 6
Environmental 14
Facility Security 11
Fire/Life Safety 47
Low Voltage 14
Regulatory 34
Taxation 3
Telecommunications 10
*Some bills cover multiple subject areas

 

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Sunset Nearing on Exemptions to Energy Efficiency Standards: ESA Working with the Industry

Posted By John Chwat, Director, Government Relations, Tuesday, November 8, 2016
Updated: Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Industry leaders are joining forces to address the sunset exemption on minimum energy efficiency standards for External Power Supplies (EPS) on security, life safety and surveillance systems — scheduled to expire July 1, 2017.  This exemption remains important because of the unique power requirements for security and life safety systems.  The Electronic Security Association (ESA) in cooperation with the Security Industry Association (SIA), National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), and others have taken up the initiative.

 In 2011, Public Law 111-360 exempted EPS minimum energy efficiency standards for certain security or life safety alarms and surveillance system components under the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) for five (5) years, ending on July 1, 2017. 

 How the law defines “life safety alarm” or “surveillance system”

A security or life safety alarm or surveillance system is defined in the law as “...equipment designed and marketed to:

  • Monitor, detect, record, or provide notification of intrusion or access to real property or physical assets or threats to life safety
  • Deter or control access to real property or physical assets, or prevent the unauthorized removal of physical assets
  • Monitor, detect, record or provide notification of fire, gas, smoke, flooding, or other physical threats to real property, physical assets, or life safety.”

 

Background on the Exemption

At the time, Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) sponsored legislation (HR 5470) that became PL 111-360 with the security and life safety equipment exemption because if these devices had to be reengineered to allow standby mode operation for testing, it would more than double the cost of the devices without producing any energy savings.  Like many new policies and laws passed by Congress, an expiration date was added to the law to ensure it would be reevaluated.

In September 2016, Congressman Mike Pompeo (R-KA), a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Energy and Power Subcommittee, introduced H.R. 6214- the Power And Security Systems (PASS) Act. This stand-alone bill would remove the expiration on the exemption for security and life-safety products unless the U.S. Department of Energy determines there should be an alternate standard for these products by July 1, 2019.  The electronic security industry is working to secure co-sponsors for the PASS Act prior to Congress resuming activities on November 14, 2016.

Rep. Pompeo cautioned Congress that “Allowing this exemption to expire would needlessly increase the cost of security and fire protection systems.”  He further stated, “This legislation will ensure Washington regulators do not stand in the way of American’s safety at home or in the workplace.”  

While there is uncertainty whether the bill will pass before this session of Congress ends in December, ESA is also working with industry partners on alternative measures to protect the industry from these energy efficiency standards.

ESA is seeking an extension of the exemption in a major energy-related bill that has already passed the U.S. House of Representatives and is pending in the U.S. Senate. This bill, S.2012, the North American Energy Security and Infrastructure Act, was introduced in September 2015 and passed in the U.S. House on December 3, 2015.

It is now on the Senate floor for final consideration. Meetings are taking place in the Senate, House, and the Department of Energy to address the pending sunset date.  ESA, SIA, NEMA and others in the industry have presented officials with requests to make this exemption permanent, saying:

“…monitoring and other functionalities of life safety and security devices require constant energy. The needs for a continual active mode is not one that will be eliminated by future technology improvements, because in light of their important safety function, these systems must always be on.  Furthermore, the devices are prohibited from ever entering into a “no load” mode by the relevant product standards and NFPA 72.”

Should Congress not address the exemption before December 31, 2016, ESA will continue its support and work with the industry as soon as the 115th Congress convenes in Washington, D.C. on January 2, 2017.

 

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State Legislative Report - September 2016

Posted By Chris Heaton, Vice President, Membership and Chapter Relations, Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Through September 30, 2016 ESA tagged 230 bills for monitoring.  Of these, 86 bills officially failed and were removed from the report.  The following is a brief review of bills and other news that may be of interest to members.

California – A small series of bills mentioned in the August 2016 State Legislative Report were signed by the Governor and enacted during September.  AB 2153 is the Lead Acid Battery Recycling Act, which creates a trade-in and deposit program for all retail sales with lead acid batteries.  AB 2288 is an apprenticeship program bill that requires the Workforce Development Board and local boards to ensure that federal Workforce innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014 funds awarded for pre-apprenticeship training in building and construction trades fund programs and services that follow the core curriculum implemented by the State Department of Education.  AB 2299, AB 2406 and SB 1069 are a trio of bills that amend language in “second unit” dwellings to “accessory unit” language and the bills also prohibit local ordinances from requiring separate life safety standards in such units.  And finally, SB 945 requires all pet boarding facilities to provide fire alarm or fire suppression systems.

Massachusetts H 2095 and H 3475 were moved in September with a series of other bills to be studied by the Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security under H 4611.  These bills provide for sprinkler and fire protection standards for new construction.

Michigan S 954 is a bill that exempts fire alarm contractors from the licensing requirements of architects and engineers when submitting shop drawings.  It moved to the second reading in House on September 14, 2016. 

New Jersey had several bills relating to school safety that moved during September.  NJ A191, which would require schools to be equipped with emergency lights and panic alarms linked with law enforcement, moved to the Senate Committee on Budget and Appropriations on September 12thNJ A 3348, A 3349, S 2313 and S 2439 would enhance security measures on new school construction and require enhanced employee training with emergency responders, respectively.  The Assembly bills previously passed the Assembly and were reported out of the Senate Committee on Education on September 12, 2016.  The Senate bills were sent to the Senate Committee on Budget and Appropriations on September 12th as well. 

New Jersey S 1902 is the bill mentioned in previous State Legislative Reports that would exempt wireless alarm systems from local permitting requirements and cap local permitting fees at $55.  This bill previously passed the Senate.  On September 8, 2016 it moved to the Assembly Committee on Regulated Professions. 

Below is a complete list of bills in the September 2016 State Legislative Report.  Please contact Chris Heaton at Chris.Heaton@ESAweb.org or call (972) 807-6815 if additional information is needed.

 

Bill Summary*
Alarm 17
Apprenticeship 8
Call Center 2
CCTV/Video/Audio 13
Employer Liability 5
Environmental 13
Facility Security 10
Fire/Life Safety 47
Low Voltage 13
Regulatory 32
Taxation 5
Telecommunications 9
*Some bills cover multiple subject areas

 

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Congress Considers Bills Before Leaving Washington, D.C. in October

Posted By John Chwat, Director, Government Relations, Tuesday, October 11, 2016

The U.S. Congress left Washington, D.C. for the better part of October 2016 to campaign on district activities. They return on Monday, Nov. 14, after the presidential elections for what is termed a “lame duck” session until the end of the year. During this four to five week period, Congress rushes to pass many bills that have been held up for a year or more. The new Congress convenes after the New Year.

Before they left, the House and Senate did consider bills that the industry is focused on. Some of these include:

On Sept. 27, 2016, the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee passed S.2607, the “Developing Innovation and Growing the Internet of Things,” or DIGIT Act and sent it to the Senate for consideration. The key portion of the bill is to authorize the secretary of commerce to create a federal working group on the Internet of Things (IoT) that includes various stakeholders including the private sector. In the report, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that the working group would require at least 12 employees for about $3 million.

On Sept. 20, the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee passed and reported to the full Senate S.2644, the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) authorization bill for 2017 and 2018. The bill contains two sections that are of interest to ESA members and the industry at large. The two sections of interest relate to "spoofing prevention" and misleading or inaccurate caller ID information including calls from outside the U.S., text messaging, enhanced message service (EMS) or short message service (SMS) and media message service (MMS), but excludes real-time two-way voice or video communications. This provision also includes a directive to the FCC to propose regulations and consumer awareness requirements; a General Accounting Office (GAO) study on actions by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the FCC to combat fraudulent caller ID activity. The other provision relates to requirements for accessing 911 dialing for multi-line telephone systems and its installation and manufacturing.

In addition, the U.S. House passed an FCC-related bill in September 2016 that came over from the Senate (S.253) and incorporated eight House bills relating to communications, including HR2669, the Anti-Spoofing Act and HR4167, Kari’s Law Act, which are referenced in the Senate bill above. This House bill and the Senate passed bill (S2644) will be worked out in a House-Senate conference before the end of the year.

Prior to the Congress recess, the U.S. House voted 246-177, to delay implementation of the labor department's overtime rule from December 2016 to June 2017. ESA worked with the sponsor of this legislation, other industry groups and business organizations to secure House passage. This continues ESA opposition to the Administration's overtime proposed rule in which ESA submitted comments against the rule earlier this year to the U.S. Department of Labor. President Obama has already sent a message to Congress threatening to veto any bill that delays implementation of the rule. Republicans voted unanimously for the bill, along with five Democrats: Reps. Brad Ashford of Nebraska, Henry Cuellar of Texas, Daniel Lipinski of Illinois, Collin Peterson of Minnesota, and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona. The rule, initially set to take effect in December, will double (to $47,476) the salary threshold under which virtually all workers are guaranteed time-and-a-half pay whenever they work more than 40 hours in a given week. It is not assured that the Senate will address this legislation prior to adjournment at the end of the year, however, Sen. Lankford (R-OK) introduced S.3462 to delay the rule six months and Sen. Vitter (R-LA) introduced S.3429 to delay the rule until December 1, 2018.

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