Gov. Watch

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

NBFAA on the road

To keep National Burglar & Fire Alarm Association members up to date on what’s going on in their state legislatures-what bills have or may be introduced that may affect their businesses-the NBFAA is launching a series of legislative breakfasts in targeted states around the country.

The first meetings will be held this month in Georgia (Oct. 7), Vermont (Oct. 14) and Virginia (Oct. 28). States were chosen “due to legislative activity and interest and legislation for the 2009 state legislative session,” said John Chwat, NBFAA director of government relations.

“Georgia and Vermont are both interested in state licensing legislation to be pre-filed,” he said. Chwat anticipates that speakers will include both legislators and public safety officials. NBFAA officers will also be in attendance.

The Virgina chapter is especially important, Chwat said, because a bill that may be reintroduced proposing “a fee-per-customer on monitoring companies in the state may be used for firefighter line-of-duty benefits.” He called the bill “hugely important … one that could have ramifications across the country.”

More meetings will be scheduled for 2008 and 2009, Chwat said.

Federal legislation in play, Dallas ordinance

In the waning days of the 110th Congress, the NBFAA will be keeping an eye on several bills including: H.R.5920, on federal background checks, which is currently in the House Judiciary Crime Subcommittee; and H.R.2882, which deals with a Department of Health and Human Services grant program for the installation of life-safety equipment in assisted living facilities, hospices and nursing homes. The NBFAA is working “to educate Congress on the balance between fire alarm and fire suppression,” Chwat said. “We still have great concern that the federal government, especially at Health and Human Services and DHS, is not understanding the importance of fire alarms versus suppression-that is a big issue for us.”

“We’re also working on a bill,” Chwat said, “to support the installation of video surveillance and CCTV cameras in small cities (search “NBFAA gov’t group talks business” at for more background) and still looking for a sponsor for that, especially in light of the passage of Dallas City Council’s ordinance that mandates CCTV cameras outside convenience stores.”