Government watch

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

The Security Industry Association outlined its legislative agenda for 2008 and Don Erickson, legislative director for the group, noted that, of the dozen priorities listed, “We’ve got some new things, like the hospital grants, some recurring issues such as Port Security, as well as non-funding issues like the government end-user training idea and establishing a DHS federal physical security advisory committee.”
Following are excerpts from SIA’s top 12 legislative priorities for 2008:
Rail/Public Transit System Security Grants: Similar to the “Improving America’s Security Act of 2007,” which authorized $3.3 billion for security improvements at public transportation agencies, this law would authorize $1.2 billion in grants to railroad carriers, state and local governments, and Amtrak for security improvements.
Secure Our Schools grant program: This year legislation has been introduced in Congress that would clarify the use of grant funds for the installation of surveillance equipment and authorize $50 million annually for the program.
Port Security Grant Program: SIA would like to see funding secured for this five-year, $2 billion program for SIA member equipment manufacturers and ensure that SIA standards are adhered to.
Wastewater Treatment Facility Security Grants: To support legislation to authorize $200 million in grants to states and utilities (publicly and privately owned) for physical security improvements at wastewater facilities.
Health Care Facility Physical Security Grants: Establish a significant grant program to enable health-care facilities to purchase electronic physical security equipment that will protect patients, staff, visitors and critical care facilities. SIA would partner with the International Association for Health Care Security and Safety (IAHSS) to expand grant assistance for health-care facilities.
Fire Safety Grant Funding: To support and possibly increase funding for legislation backed by the National Burglar & Fire Alarm Association called The College Life Safety and Fire Protection Act (H.R. 1409) which would authorize $3 million annually for a new Department of Education grant program for colleges and universities to acquire fire alarm detection and prevention systems such as sprinklers, smoke detectors and extinguishing systems.
Agriculture Facility Security Tax Credits: Support legislation that would provide a tax incentive to agri-businesses for physical security investments.
GSA Schedule 84 Cooperative Purchasing: Support legislation that extends the GSA Cooperative Purchasing Program to Schedule 84, thereby making it easier for many SIA members to secure customer agreements with state and local governments.
Opening International Government Markets for Physical Security Products: To advocate for U.S. trade policies that will expand opportunities for SIA members to sell their products in international markets.
Education and Training for the Federal Security Workforce: The Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) manages a physical security-training program that needs improvement. SIA would support initiatives to reform the FLETC program. It supports the establishment of a group, similar to SIA’s Government Security End User Infrastructure Group, which would support training for the federal physical security workforce and increase understanding of security industry technologies.
Federal Physical Security Advisory Committee: SIA is looking to support the establishment of a federal advisory committee that would advise the Department of Homeland Security on matters pertaining to electronic physical security of public buildings and facilities. This would help ensure that the security industry is consulted in the event of future government security mandates, such as HSPD-12.
Tax Withholding of Contractor Payments: To repeal the “Tax Increase Prevention and Reconciliation Act of 2005” that will require federal, state, and local governments to withhold three percent of payments to government contractors beginning in 2011.