Legislative Summary, December 2020
Here are highlights of legislative activity that could impact the electronic security and life safety industry.
Federal Legislative Summary – December 2020
December ended with the last-minute passage (something that seems to be a trend for multi-thousand-page bills that no one has had a chance to read) of the latest phase of COVID-19 relief and economic stimulus. This portion of the bill was just a small part of the overall appropriations bill, so it is likely you heard of many anecdotes of items in the bill that have nothing to do with COVID-19 or the economy. This is because the appropriations portion of the bill included funding for twelve federal departments.
As to the portion that matters most to ESA member businesses, the provisions for stimulus and aid can be highlighted with a few bullet points, but these only skim the surface of the bill details:
- $600 stimulus check sent to most Americans with the same income ceilings provided for in the CARES Act.
- $300 a week in extra unemployment benefits through March.
- $284 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to help small businesses.
- Businesses that previously received PPP funding may receive a second round of loans, but additional requirements will apply, including proof of lost revenue over a specific percentage from the previous year.
- The bill also addresses aid to airlines, farmers, public transit, food stamps, childcare, and a host of other causes that in one way or another were impacted from the economic fallout.
- One of the more substantive tax provisions in this bill is a provision that reverses prior IRS guidance and will allow businesses to deduct eligible expenses paid for with forgiven PPP loan proceeds. This is a significant provision that could save businesses across the country as much as $100 billion.
Stay tuned to ESA for additional information as Congress convenes a new session.
State Legislative Summary – December 2020
The new year brought numerous new bills from states that began the pre-filing process over the last several weeks. States continue to consider ways to assist small businesses facing hardship or closure resulting from government-mandated closures and restrictions with funding for small businesses, such as California SB 74, and civil liability immunity from COVID-related claims; see Maryland SB 210. Below is a recap of other bills we will be keeping a close eye on as they progress.
Arkansas HB 1051 would allow alarm companies to list a website with licensing information in lieu of listing specific licenses from all states where the company is licensed on the advertising medium itself. This will help companies that are licensed in numerous states to direct consumers to licensing information on a website rather than listing a cluttered list of state licenses on any advertising medium.
Minnesota HF 20 and New Jersey S 3301 address video monitoring and access to resident rooms in long-term care facilities. New Jersey S 3301 provides certain requirements in association with the use of electronic monitoring devices (EMDs) at group homes for individuals with developmental disabilities. An “EMD” is a camera or other electronic device that uses video, but not audio, recording capabilities to monitor the activities taking place in the area where the device is installed.
Some states are also attempting to address corporate and personal income tax issues related to relief and forgiven loans from the CARES Act. Alabama HB 35, HB 86 and HB 19 address personal and corporate income tax exclusions related to funds received due to COVID-19. Arkansas HB 1060 and New Jersey S 5149 would exempt forgiven portion of PPP loans from income taxes. Utah SB 25 would allow a corporate taxpayer to carry back, for up to three years, a Utah net loss realized during specified tax years.
Some labor issues are also addressed in recently filed legislation with very different outlooks. Missouri HB 505 would allow individual counties to adopt right-to-work measures while Virginia HB 1755 would completely repeal its right-to-work statute.