Government Watch

Bipartisan cooperation on purchasing bill
SSN Staff  - 
Saturday, September 1, 2007

On July 25, Rep. Ed Towns (D-NY) and Rep. Brian Bilbray (R-CA) introduced HR 3179, The Local Preparedness Acquisition Act, a bill that will make it easier for state and local governments to buy security and fire alarm system equipment, by extending the cooperative purchasing to GSA Schedule 84.
Don Erickson, director of government relations for the Security Industry Association, helped the congressmen craft the bill. He said SIA is pleased to have "the chairman [Towns] and the ranking Republican member [Bilbray] of the Subcommittee on Government Management, Organization and Procurement, introduce the bill together." In early August, Erickson said SIA would be spending August trying to "pick up a few more cosponsors for the bill ... and we're hopeful that the bill will be marked up [evaluated] in committee in September or August. That's what we're pushing for."
An SIA statement pointed out that 80 percent of companies on the GSA schedule are small businesses and that Schedule 84 covers "fire alarm systems, access control devices, perimeter security, video surveillance systems and countless other homeland security products and services at GSA-approved reduced prices." Presently, state and local governments are not able to purchase goods on Schedule 84. Erickson noted that the National Association of Counties passed a resolution calling on Congress to increase state and local governments' access to GSA schedule programs. Erickson said it's good to have NAC on record in support of these efforts.

Carbon monoxide detection bill approved in Fla.

Florida Gov. Charlie Crist on July 24 signed Senate Bill 1822, which will require carbon monoxide detectors in public lodging establishments and new construction in the state, according to a press release. The bill was sponsored by Sens. Rudy Garcia (R-Hialeah) and Charlie Justice (D-St. Petersburg), and Rep. Ron Saunders (D-Tavernier). There are an estimated 100 deaths annually caused by carbon monoxide poisoning.
The introduction of the bill followed the carbon monoxide poisoning death of a 26-year-old, Tom Lueders, in a Key West hotel room in December 2006. Leuders' family worked with Florida Justice Association and members of the Florida Legislature to get the bill introduced.