federal court decision in 2013 was believed to be a major step in compelling
Illinois fire districts to open up to commercial competition, but a new bill in
the Illinois state legislature is being viewed as an attempt at an end-run
around the legal issues. Industry professionals are now being asked to help
stop the bill in its tracks.
Bill 5683 would amend the state’s Fire Protection District Act to allow the
adoption of ordinances regulating the supervision and monitoring of fire alarm
systems maintained within a district. The bill’s language would also allow
districts to "collect reasonable fees for fire alarm services that are provided
to customers by the district itself or through a vendor approved by the board.”
Illinois Electronic Security Association (IESA) Executive
Director Kevin Lehan said the bill also amends the Private Detective, Private
Alarm, Private Security, Fingerprint Vendor and Locksmith Act and exempts units
of local government and its employees from the requirements of the security
industry licensure act.
is very clear about how security professionals should view the new legislation,
which was introduced by state Rep. Timothy L. Schmitz (R-Geneva).
intent of the bill appears to be a way to circumvent the Lisle-Woodridge
federal court ruling,” Lehan said. He said IESA is also concerned that if the
bill is successful, the tactic might spread to other states.
July 2013, the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a ruling
against the Lisle-Woodridge Fire District, which had required that commercial
and multi-residential businesses must contract solely with the district for
fire alarm monitoring. In effect, that would have opened the door for more fire
districts to enter the fire alarm monitoring business and charge customers
higher-than-market-priced fees for monitoring.
the appellate court confirmed that the ordinance created a governmental
monopoly, and upheld a permanent injunction that was handed down in August
2012. Since then, a number of fire districts have been getting out of the fire
alarm monitoring business.
is asking for assistance from other industry members in the state.
we will be providing information that we hope the industry will hand-deliver to
their state lawmakers for both the homes and business locations,” he said. "It
is extremely important the industry is united and actively educates legislators
about the detrimental impact of this bill.”
said IESA will continue to keep members and other professionals informed about
the legislation as well as discussing strategy. In the meantime, he said,
industry professionals can identify their state lawmakers and be ready to
contact them with the appropriate information once it is available.
all, he said, an increase in the number of IESA members would create greater
resistance against the bill.
the industry to be successful in opposing this bill, we need more members and
greater support,” he said. "Any professional who has not already joined for
2014 should do so as soon as possible. It’s an investment that every alarm
contractor in the state should make in our industry.”
information can be obtained by contacting Lehan via e-mail at ExecDirector@IESA.net.