Future of Article 6-E and national central station licensing being discussed now

 - 
02/10/2011

So the NYBFAA's board of directors meeting is going on right now at ADI's Albany headquarters. Last time I spoke with NYBFAA executive director Dale Eller he told me that just prior to the Feb. 3 deadline for submission of written comments on Article 6-E there were 20 RSVPs to attend the meeting and open discussion forum. He also said just prior to the Feb. 3 deadline for written submissions there were a dozen concerned security industry members who had voiced their opinion in writing.

This promises to be a busy, boisterous and vocal day over in Albany!

I first wrote about this proposed legislation last year when USA Central Station's Bart Didden began making noise about it on the CSAA-administered ACCENT Listserv. I've since written a follow up story and done a bit of blogging about the issue and discussed it at ssnTVnews as well.

Regardless of how you feel about Bart or his stance, he sure did get the ball rolling.

One security industry exec to whom I spoke, and who requested anonymity, told me that in his 30 years in the industry he had never seen a bigger story than that into which Article 6-E was turning.

I spoke with early critics like John Doyle and with CSAA president Ed Bonifas, who at first said he felt CSAA had to remain neutral until a consensus was reached. It appears that consensus has occured.

I got a letter from Ed to NYBFAA president Joe Hayes on Feb. 8 in which Ed steps away from the middle and places CSAA's stance clearly in the anti 6-E camp.

Dear Joe:

As you know, the issue of the proposed NYBFAA Licensing legislation, known as '6-E,' has been discussed within the Central Station Alarm Association (CSAA) membership for the past several weeks. It is our understanding that the proposed legislation would require the licensing of central stations and operators within and outside of New York State.

The New York State licensing issue was discussed at length during our recent Long Range Planning meeting. After hearing both sides of the issue, a majority of those participating indicated that they are opposed to any further licensing that may add burdensome costs and add little to public benefit.

The issue was then referred to the CSAA Board of Directors, who voted nearly unanimously not to support the proposed legislation in its current form.

The view of most CSAA members with whom we have discussed this issue is that while licensing reciprocity is something we would all like to see, addressing it on a state-by-state basis would only create more impediments, costs and regulatory requirements than are necessary. CSAA believes that this issue should be addressed instead at the federal level.

We hope that you will express our opposition to this proposed legislation to your members. You have received numerous individual letters from our membership and others to the same effect. Our official position on this matter represents the will not only of our board and members, but also numerous non-members in the central station industry who have communicated their concerns to us about the proposed New York State licensing legislation.

Sincerely,

Ed Bonifas, CSAA president

Really, Ed isn't saying much of anything new. He said, when I spoke with him that he felt the issue should be tackled on a national level rather than a state-by-state approach, but then said CSAA was neurtal... Really, saying that state-by-state is the wrong way to go, is anti-Article 6-E.

I also picked up some chatter about 6-E over at Ken Kirschenbaum's newsletter. Mike from CSS asked Joe Hayes through the newsletter "I have read the proposed law (several times).  Can you tell me who decided to bring this issue to Ex, Senator Foleys Office? Who were the main players in writing this proposal?" To Mike, I can tell you that I found after speaking with both the Article 6-E Review Committee and the ex-senator's office a discrepancy about where the proposed legislation came from. Each party said the other originated the proposed legislation. You can read about that in the first story I wrote on 6-E, as well as in its follow up.

Also via Ken's newsletter, Danny Dunson from Direct Alarm in Griffin, Ga. gives a few very good reasons why the legislation is unneeded.

Dear Mr. Hayes and board members,

I would like to express opposition to the proposed legislation, known as 6E, which would require state licensing of Central Monitoring Stations in New York.   Though Direct Alarm does not do business in the state of New York,  we are against any unwanted legislation that may set a precedent for other states to follow.  While the proposed legislation may have good intentions behind it, the legislation is unnecessary for the good or  betterment of the electronic security industry or its consumers. The following are a couple of reasons that we feel make the legislation unnecessary.

Central Stations are already governed by their clients.

Electronic security companies demand quality from the central station that they use so that their end-users are satisfied with service and response. A few of the things that electronic security companies demand from their central stations are: a UUFX Underwriter's Laboratories (UL) listing, a Factory Mutual (FM) approval, and a CSAA certification.

Government is not competent enough to provide a service to this industry.

Professionals at Underwriter's Laboratories, Factory Mutual, and CSAA have spent decades researching the industry in order to provide ample, precise, and stringent standards and requirements which Central Monitoring Stations use to govern themselves. In no way will the government of the state of New York be able to provide a positive or useful service to the electronic security industry or the central station industry in the face of what is already present and changes daily.

Thank you for considering our firm stance on the proposed legislation 6E. I hope that you will govern yourselves accordingly and do what is best for the industry and its consumers and do away with this proposal and all that bear similarity to it.

Regardless of whether you're pro or con or have no opinion either way, this is looking like a seminal event in the industry, if it can get enough people talking and enough momentum to address the issue on a national level. I'll continue to cover this story as it develops.

I spoke with Doyle Security president John Doyle late yesterday. He was leaving the NYBFAA meeting in Albany. He seemed pleased with how the meeting had gone:

"There was a great turnout at the meeting of members and guests. I was just pleased that they had this meeting. It was well organized and everyone got to say what they wanted to say. I feel like I was listened to and I feel it was a healthy airing of thoughts and opinions."

John also said that CSAA’s message arguing the issue of state licensing/reciprocity should be handled on a national level did get through. Again, I'll have more as it becomes available...