Reciprocity bill seeks to honor alarm licenses across state lines

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Wednesday, December 1, 2004

VIENNA, Va. - After years of discussion and anticipation, the Alarm Industry Communications Committee has completed work on a proposed piece of legislation that would allow monitoring firms to have their licenses recognized outside of their home states.

Known as the Alarm Monitoring Licensing and Reciprocity Act of 2005, the committee seeks to eliminate the requirement to attain additional accreditation when a license has already been granted in one of the 50 states. It does not seek to change the fee structure imposed for licensing, which is a source of income for the individual states.

That would be a significantly different approach than what is required today. For the registered agent at a monitoring firm, the person must visit the state they do not have a license in and complete a new application. In addition to travel, this process can involve once again being fingerprinted, photographed and tested, a process that some deem repetitive.

“This is to correct some real wasted expense, effort and resources for companies who monitor in several states,” said Richard Sampson, president of the Central Station Alarm Association, one of several industry groups that support the measure.

The AICC is comprised of the CSAA, National Burglar and Fire Alarm Association and the Security Industry Association. Security companies, such as Ademco, Vector Security and the Security Network of America, also participate on the committee.

“The main issue now is getting the sponsor - which I think we have - and getting the right climate in the Congress,” said Steve Doyle, executive vice president of the CSAA.

With the presidential election over, and the Republicans winning control of both the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate, Doyle said he is optimistic that the climate is right to get the bill passed. He sees the Republican majority endorsing provisions to make interstate commerce more practicable and Democrats willing to compromise on key issues.

“We’re bracing ourselves that it may take three cycles - we may get lucky (that it happens earlier,)” said Doyle.

According to Sampson, the need for such a law did not exist when he co-founded American Alarm more than 30 years ago.

As technology advancements enabled monitoring firms to consolidate operations, the presence of competing regional central stations that only serve the surrounding areas have disappeared, he said. The result has been centralized call centers far removed from the areas they serve.

Companies that operate proprietary central stations would also benefit from the passage of the Reciprocity Act. Organizations such as Boeing, State Farm and Wal-Mart must meet the same licensing requirements to monitor their facility across the country as do national monitoring firms.