State legislatures and security technology

LPR, body cams, data centers are topical in 2015
Thursday, May 7, 2015

SILVER SPRING, Md.—Legislation dealing with security technology, most notably body-cams for law enforcement and data centers’ tax status, made an appearance at the state level this year, according to SIA.

Other bills focused on mobile driver’s licenses and the use of license plate readers, Elizabeth Hunger, SIA’s manager of government relations, told Security Systems News.

“It’s exciting to see technology addressed,” she said, noting that proposed legislation on body-cams and data centers is new on the state front.

“These are the top trends in terms of volume of legislation, and they won’t be going away anytime soon,” she said. The measures likely will carry over into next year’s sessions as many states are in the process of wrapping up current session work.

In the wake of fatal shootings by police in Missouri and New York, and along with the establishment of the president’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing, 95 bills about body-worn cameras for law enforcement turned up in 36 states, Hunger said.

“That’s a huge amount of legislation for just one issue,” she said.

The focus of the bills ranged from calling for feasibility studies to developing policies for how body-cams should be used, how their data should be used and how long the data should be retained, to requiring the use of cameras for law enforcement, she said.

Another topical issue is data centers. Thirty-eight bills in 15 states dealt with tax exemptions for data centers’ structures and equipment.

“There was an influx of legislation about that. This is really interesting for our industry as we move into a cloud-based world. Data centers are so important. There needs to be a physical space for the cloud,” Hunger said.

Governors in Missouri, Oregon and North Dakota have signed data center tax-exemptions into law, she said.

Nine states took up the issue of mobile driver’s licenses, a trend that “caught on pretty quickly” after Iowa and Delaware started allowing the use of a mobile app on smartphones as a driver’s license, Hunger said. Most of the 11 bills this year were for feasibility studies.

Legislation regarding the use of license plate readers primarily took two forms, those seeking an outright ban on LPRs and those addressing how information collected from LPRs should be stored and accessed and how long it should be retained. “This came up in 16 states. It had more traction this year,” she said.

As always, school security measures were introduced at the state level, from setting guidelines, to establishing emergency preparedness plans to creating, funding and refunding grant programs. Thirteen states have created grant programs for school security and the trend is slowing moving toward state-assistance for school technology, Hunger said.

Other security-related bills dealt with recurring issues, including copper replacement, low-voltage installation and automatic contract renewal.

In total, SIA and its local policy working group examined 430 pieces of state legislation this year.

“It’s fun when you see new trends emerge and where the states are going,” Hunger said.