by Chris Heaton - Vice President for Advocacy and Public Affairs
The mid-terms are in the books, with very few exceptions and it is now time to consider what impact we can expect with legislation and regulation in 2019 considering the changes that occurred in most state legislatures.
With Democratic gains in many states, issues historically supported by them will likely gain more traction. Republicans maintain control in a majority of state legislatures and in Governorships, but there will be changes our industry should expect. Here are some of the issues we anticipate will receive more attention in 2019:
Paid Family (Parental) Leave Insurance – In 2016 there were four (4) states with paid family leave and 15 more states considering some form of the program. This number continued to grow with Hawaii, New York and Washington passing paid family leave legislation since 2017. We expect more states will file such legislation, but the impact to small businesses will depend largely on the type of program created.
Will the states force employers, employees or a combination of the two to fund the “insurance” for this program? Will there be a full-time employee threshold for applicability? These and other considerations will depend on the state as the models range widely.
Consumer Privacy – This is a looming subject for legislation with cyber threats and breaches drawing media attention on an almost daily basis. The impact to the industry can be potentially significant for ESA members in states such as California, which recently passed a very far reaching consumer privacy bill that will force numerous declarations and disclosures for businesses who collect and store consumer information.
Without uniformity among the states, it could become very onerous for businesses that deal in inter-state transactions to comply with differing consumer protection and disclosure provisions, not to mention the security functions and safeguards required of equipment sold to consumers.
School Security – School security will continue to be a focal point in many legislatures as stakeholders wrestle with the tremendous funding challenges and underlying societal issues that result in senseless active shooter tragedies. ESA will continue to work with aligned industries and policy makers to help guide the most effective legislative solutions possible to a tragic problem.
Occupational Licensing – Occupational licensing reform legislation was widely introduced in 2018 and became law in Nebraska, Louisiana and Oklahoma. We are already seeing the impact of this legislation in Oklahoma where regulators are currently considering changes to licensing requirements in the alarm industry.
ESA recently made the decision to join the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), where the model for this legislation was developed. It is very important to have an active voice in how this legislation is crafted and to educate policy makers wherever possible on the need to maintain the proper balance with regulations. We expect to see more of this legislation filed in 2019 and we will work closely with legislators as warranted.
Naturally, we will monitor many other issues dealing with low-voltage, life safety, audio/video surveillance, taxation, internet/technology and other issues as they will receive their share of attention in 2019. ESA will keep members informed on all issues that have a potential impact on their businesses and engage them on the most important.