Housekeeping was the major occupation for the 110th Congress on Capitol Hill mid-January as committee and subcommittee chairs were chosen. "The membership still won't be finalized until next week," said John Chwat, legislative director of the National Burglar & Fire Alarm Association.
In the meantime, the NBFAA is getting ready to push legislation in three major areas which include: mandating the professional installation of life safety and fire equipment in various public buildings; a tax deduction for the installation of security devices in commercial and residential buildings; and working on legislation that will help security companies that do work with background checks and biometrics.
At the beginning of the year, the NBFAA sent a comment to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services regarding the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) proposal that nursing homes be required to install sprinklers (see "N.J. to sprinkler nursing homes," page 20). The NBFAA objected to the fact that CMS did not propose mandating the installation of fire-alarm equipment as well.
The NBFAA also set May 1 and 2 as NBFAA Day on Capitol Hill. "We'll be supporting other events that lobby Congress within the industry, but this will be our product," Chwat said.
Over at the Security Industry Association, Don Erickson, director of government affairs, was similarly planning the legislative agenda for his group. On Erickson's to-do list: urging full-funding for the Port Security Grant Program; working to extend the cooperative purchasing agreement for schools and local government to more security products; and trying to get the federal government to participate more fully in SIA's standards-making process.
About the cooperative purchasing agreement, Erickson said, "the bill will go through Rep. Henry Waxman's (D-Calif.) committee and he's traditionally been supportive of cooperative purchasing agreements."
Compiled by Martha Entwistle.