Tuesday, July 1, 2008

S.C. sprinkler incentive law about to become law

As Security Systems News went to press on June 9, a significant fire sprinkler bill was poised to become law in South Carolina.

“The governor has until midnight Wednesday [June 11] to sign, veto, or it becomes law. If a veto occurs, the legislators could overturn June 17th,” said John Reich, South Carolina Fire Marshal on June 9.

The bill would give businesses and homeowners an incentive to retrofit with fire sprinklers with two caveats. The bill has to be approved at the local level and there are no incentives in jurisdictions where sprinklers are required to be installed by law. If those two requirements are met, then property owners would be eligible for a property tax credit equal to 25 percent of the cost of the system. The state would match the local tax credit with an income tax credit, which would mean a 50 percent reduction in the cost of the system.

The bill puts a cap on the amount water purveyors can charge for connecting the systems. It also makes an exception to standard sprinkler regulations, allowing churches to display live Christmas trees indoors without a sprinkler system.

Reich said the only state that has a similar law is Minnesota.

NBFAA successful in push for action on background checks

The National Burglar & Fire Alarm Association took the industry’s concerns to Capitol Hill in May during the second annual Day on Capitol Hill. More than 40 NBFAA members took to Washington to talk to their Congressional representatives. A highlight of the visit was the announcement that Congressman Paul C. Broun (R-Ga.) had introduced a bill to allow and enable federal background checks for security industry employees.

H.R. 5920, “Electronic Life Safety and Security & Systems Federal Background Check Act,” would give the life safety and security profession access to the FBI database in order to provide employers with relevant criminal background information. The bill includes suggested standards for access to the database, privacy protections and employee rights.