by Chris Heaton - Vice President for Advocacy and Public Affairs
State legislators are making their way back to their respective capitals and bills with a potential impact to the electronic security industry are being filed with more frequency. School security legislation continues to dominate the issue area of most concern to legislators and rightly so.
Bills designed to protect consumers privacy are also receiving more attention as is legislation relating to occupational licensing. Below are a few of the bills filed in December that cover these and other issue areas of interest:
Florida SB 174 is a bill similar to legislation in other states that would require each public school building on the campus of a public elementary school, middle school, or high school to be equipped with at least one panic alarm, etc.
Indiana SB 127 would create a "school safety referendum tax levy fund" that, if approved, would provide funding for comprehensive school safety programs including school emergency response systems and the purchase of equipment and capital expenses to improve the safety of a school building and grounds. The amount is determined by local governing body and subject to approval by voters.
New Jersey SB 1869 was enacted in December and this new statute will prohibit the sale of alarm signs or decals without the express written consent of the alarm company represented on the sign or decal.
New Jersey SB 3264 would require video surveillance recording and storage in all special education classrooms. Other requirements apply.
New Mexico SB 105 is a comprehensive re-write of the Construction Industries Licensing Act, starting with the name, Construction Inspection and Licensing Act. There is no bill analysis published to date, but this bill will be closely monitored for developments.
New Mexico SB 176 creates a comprehensive consumer information privacy act that would have a far-reaching impact on any business that maintains or collects information on consumers.
South Carolina HB 3178 moves the State Fire Marshal as a division within the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulations to Deputy Director of the Division of Fire and Life Safety of the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation. The duties of the State Fire Marshal will include enforcement of all laws and ordinances of the state that reference the installation and maintenance of fire alarm systems and implementation of licensing, permitting and certification programs based on nationally recognized codes and standards for fire protection systems and all classes of equipment, among other enumerated duties.
Texas HB 459 would mandate that all child care facilities install and maintain video and audio surveillance of all areas occupied by children except for bathrooms. It further requires that recordings be maintained for no less than 90 days. If an incident is suspected, the video and audio will be maintained until the issue is resolved.
Texas HB 538 is a 'bracketed' bill regarding fire alarm monitoring services by municipalities. It adds an exception to the prohibition of municipalities providing alarm monitoring services for cities with a population less than 5,000 adjacent to a city with 2 million or more citizens (Houston). The bill is aimed at allowing "The Villages" in Houston to provide its own alarm monitoring services.