Government watch

SSN Staff  - 
Thursday, June 1, 2006

VOIP EFFORTS SUCCESSFUL IN HOUSE; INDUSTRY LOOKS TO SENATE
WASHINGTON--The Alarm Industry Communications Committee--a joint lobbying group that includes the National Burglar & Fire Alarm Association, the Central Station Alarm Association, Security Industry Association and some manufacturers--have been hot on the trail of House members charged with rewriting the Telecommunications Act of 1996. The AICC's goal was to ensure that the bill requires VoIP providers to notify customers before the installation and activation of VoIP phone service of the following, to contact their alarm company to test the system, notify their emergency response provider after VoIP service is installed, and to have a battery backup for the alarm system.
AICC had cause to celebrate on April 24, when the House Energy and Commerce Committee unanimously adopted Rep. Cliff Stearns' (R-Fla.) amendment requiring this notification. The full House was expected to vote on the bill in May.
The AICC is now eyeing the companion bill in the Senate, which John Chwatt, NBFAA director of government relations, expected the Senate Commerce Committee to look at on June 8.
The group wants the Senate version to contain the same VoIP notification language, and further, said Georgia Calaway, NBFAA director of communications, they want manufacturers of VoIP service equipment that consumers install themselves to include this notification language on the packaging of those products.
The NBFAA and CSAA have notified members to call the senators on the committee, provided draft letters and noted which of the 22 committee members are up for reelection in November--Sens. Burns (Mont.), Lott (R-Miss.), Hutchinson (R-Texas), Snowe (R-Maine), Nelson (D-Fla.), Cantwell (C-Wash.), Ensign (R-Nev.), Lautenberg (R-N.J.), Allen (R-Va.), and Nelson (D-Neb.).

KILL BILL EFFORT SUCCESSFUL IN NEW HAMPSHIRE LICENSING
CONCORD, N.H. --The NBFAA and New Hampshire Alarm Association successfully helped kill a voluntary licensing and certification bill for electronic systems installers. A bill, approved by the House, died in the Senate on April 20. Georgia Calaway, director of communications for the NBFAA, said "the issue was that the folks in New Hampshire worked with CEDIA (Custom Electronic Design and Installation Association) and nobody else," she said. As a result, the bill "was not representative of the whole industry."

MISSISSIPPI LICENSING BILL (MS SB 2742) SIGNED INTO LAW
JACKSON, Miss.--Gov. Haley Barbour on April 3 signed a bill establishing the State Residential Electronic Protection Licensing Act for companies offering electronic protection systems to the general public. It authorizes the State Fire Marshal to assess and collect fees; it relates to burglar alarms, electronic protective systems, closed circuit television alarm systems and related services.
"The Mississippi Alarm Association worked with our state legislators and endorses this bill which we believe will benefit not only alarm companies in the state, but consumers as well," said Shelley Pettit, executive director of the Mississippi Alarm Association in a statement.
Government watch is compiled by Martha Entwistle, managing editor of Security Systems News. To contact her, email mentwistle@securitysystemsnews.com.