Government Watch

SSN Staff  - 
Saturday, July 1, 2006

Because it says that VoIP providers must tell customers to notify their alarm companies and recommends a battery back-up for their alarm systems, the recently passed House telecommunications bill is music to the ears of the security industry. And industry advocates on the Hill are working hard to ensure the Senate version is melodic as well. On June 8, the U.S. House passed HR 5252. "Our provisions related to VoIP notice prior to installation and battery back-up are in the bill. Now it goes to the Senate Commerce Committee on June 20," said John Chwat, legislative director for the National Burglar & Fire Alarm Association. "We're lobbying together with the AICC [Alarm Industry Communications Committee] and the CSAA [Central Station Alarm Association] very heavily to include these provision in a Senate bill. I think we have a lot of resonance, a lot of support in the Senate," he said. Chwat expects the bill to be voted out of committee before August and approved by the full Senate in September. "We're very hopeful that these provisions will stay in there," he said.
Jim Dalton, director of Public Fire Protection for the National Fire Sprinkler Association, was awaiting word on the rescoring of the Fire Sprinkler Incentive Act as Security Systems News went to press in mid-June. The score is the official estimate, by the Joint Tax Committee, of how much a bill will cost the Treasury, and Dalton was expecting the new score to be considerably lower than the original $2.2 billion score. The act has substantial support in Congress, with 161 co-sponsors in the House and 15 co-sponsors in the Senate. "We've been doing a lot of work to try to lower the score. We had a major meeting along with Sen. Santorum's [R-PA, author of the Senate bill] people with the Joint Tax [Committee] people and provided a lot of new industry information and a new little twist to the way you figure the retrofit number," Dalton said. If the score is substantially lower, Dalton has hopes the bill may be voted on before Congress adjourns in August. "This may be one more opportunity this year, so we're keeping our fingers crossed," he said.


Government Watch is compiled and reported by Martha Entwistle, managing editor. To contact her, send an email to