By Chris Heaton - Vice President for Advocacy and Public Affairs
On May 8, 2019, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee signed SB 1443, which will provide positive safeguards for electronic security and life safety companies. The new law contains two key provisions:
- It prohibits local governments from forcing alarm companies to collect annual permit fees from its customers – which effectively made alarm companies the collection agents for cities and counties.
- It prohibits local governments from fining alarm companies for false dispatches at end-user locations.
The Tennessee Electronic Security Association worked for years to address an issue with the City of Memphis, which made the unilateral decision to force electronic security companies to collect their customers annual alarm permit fees. Most local governments with permit ordinances collect annual alarm permit fees from the end-users (homeowners or businesses), but this was not the case in Memphis and it created a difficult and cumbersome problem for electronic security companies doing business there.
The second provision of this new law addresses the potential threat to electronic security companies by prohibiting local governments from paying, collecting or being responsible for fines or fees relative to false alarms or false alarm dispatches. Tennessee made the decision to not allow local governments to shift responsibility for false dispatches, as was done in Sandy Springs, Georgia and is the focus of a federal lawsuit by the alarm industry against that city.
ESA applauds this legislation and congratulates the hard work done by the Tennessee Electronic Security Association to advocate for the industry and for best practices to reduce false alarms.