Legislative Report November 2021
Here are highlights of legislative activity that could impact the electronic security and life safety industry.
Federal Legislative Summary – November 2021
The most notable legislation to move in November was obviously the “Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act”, H.R. 3684. This is the $1.2 Trillion package that finally received some measure of bi-partisan support and will provide money for true infrastructure projects over the next 10 years.
The more controversial measure working its way through Congress is the “Build Back Better Act”, HR 5376. This bill passed the House with widely varying estimates on its exact cost, but what most expect will not survive in its “as passed” form in the Senate. This bill presents a number of issues for paid leave, insurance benefits and potential employer liabilities. As the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) said in its recent communication to members –
“The paid leave provision in this legislation is misaligned with the Family Medical Leave Act and out of touch with the diversity of this country’s workplaces. Additionally, the bill includes provisions that would increase health care costs and upset the balance of labor-management relations. It also proposes exorbitant civil liabilities for employers of all sizes.”
Another bill that needs to be watched is HR 5994 (and Senate companion S. 3219), cited as the “BE HEARD in the Workplace Act.” This is a broad and widely reaching employment harassment and discrimination bill, 172 pages, that touches on many areas of potential liability for employers.
Another bill we are closely watching that was filed in November is HR 5823, the “Pandemic Risk Insurance Act of 2021.” This bill provides for a transparent system of shared public and private compensation for property and casualty insurance losses resulting from a pandemic or outbreak of communicable or infectious disease. Notable provisions in this bill include:
- Insurers would be required to provide coverage.
- Insurers would be required to offer pandemic coverage for event cancellation, among other lines of coverage, if they provide beneficiaries event cancellation coverage for other perils.
State Legislative Summary – November 2021
As expected, a number of states began pre-filing for the next session in their state or resumed filing in legislatures that work full-time. Several bills were introduced in Florida, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Here are some of the more notable bills that were introduced or moved during November.
Florida HB 507 creates a new Department of Labor. It would have authority over all labor and wage issues and assume responsibilities over the Department of Economic Opportunity.
Florida HB 669 and its Senate companion SB 1140 provides that a person who holds a current National Institute of Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET) Level II certification or higher in Fire Alarm Systems or Inspection and Testing of Fire Alarm Systems, a current certification as an Electronic Security Association (ESA) Certified Fire Alarm Technician (CFAT), or a current certification as an ESA Certified Fire Alarm Designer (CFAD), he or she is required to complete only the 2 hours of training in the prevention of false alarms required by paragraph (1)(b) from a board-approved sponsor of training and through a board-approved training course.
There are several bills worth noting in New Jersey. S. 4184 would provide a tax credit who hire non-resident spouses of active-duty military personnel and work a minimum number of hours in a tax year.
- 2051 is a bill we expressed concerns with earlier in the year when it was introduced. It came up again in November and was passed out of committee with the same concerns intact. While it relates to light frame residential construction projects, it includes language that would require a contractor employed in a covered construction project to enter into a project labor agreement and certify their participation in a Class A Apprenticeship Program for at least the three years immediately preceding the contract for each separate trade in which the contractor employs craft employees. This could create significant barriers for merit-based contractors in the state.
New Jersey S. 4119 would implement a significant civil penalty for any alarm contractor (among other licensed contractors mentioned in the bill) who transfers their license to another individual.
Pennsylvania has a couple interesting bills as well. HB 860 establishes owner and tenant responsibilities for smoke alarm and detection maintenance. And HB 2076 would require all public works contractors to participate in the e-verify program (EVP) as a condition of participation in contracts with governmental bodies.