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Security Industry Association; Stephen S. Holton

Good news from The Hill

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Friday, June 1, 2012

The Security Industry Association  this morning announced some good news for the industry. The House on May 30 passed H. R. 1299, the Secure Border Act.

Thanks to SIA’s efforts in the past year, the bill includes provisions important to the security industry.  As SIA’s press release put it: The bill “promotes the use of a comprehensive technology plan for major surveillance and detection technology programs, including a justification and rationale for technology choices and deployment locations."

I spoke to Marcus Dunn, SIA’s director of government relations, this morning and he had more good news:  Prospects are good for passage in the Senate.

The bill passed on suspension in the House—that means that it was passed by a supermajority on a voice vote. When bills are passed on suspension “the assumption is that it’s non-controversial,” Dunn said.

“Given that, we should have the ability to get it passed in the Senate,” he said. "If Congress can get [bills passed] without too much hassle before November, they are generally interested in doing that,” Dunn said.

If the Senate is able to do the same thing as the House, (it’s called unanimous consent in the Senate) the bill won’t have to go to conference and can quickly be signed into law by the president, Dunn pointed out.

The measure will be sent to a Senate committee early next week, although there is a process where the bill could skip committee assignment and go straight to the floor calendar for a vote, according to SIA's manager of government relations Stephen Holton.

"We are monitoring this legislation closely and intend on weighing in with comment once the proper committee jurisdiction is determined," Holton told me in an email.

Here’s some more information from the SIA news release:

“The bill was introduced by Rep. Candice Miller of Michigan, by recommending strategies that feature video cameras and other security technologies, ensuring that the use of electronic physical security equipment would be a priority within the Department of Homeland Security’s border security strategies. H.R. 1299 promotes the use of a comprehensive technology plan for major surveillance and detection technology programs, including a justification and rationale for technology choices and deployment locations.

“The Secure Border Act will direct the Secretary of Homeland Security to submit to Congress a comprehensive strategy for gaining operational control of the international borders between U.S. ports of entry, and also calls for the development of a five-year plan to ensure the vision of complete operational control is being met in border areas
The strategy will propose, among other things, staffing requirements, infrastructure investments, and the use of unmanned aerial vehicle, detection, and security equipment.
The bill is awaiting introduction into the U.S. Senate, which goes back into session on Monday, June 4.  SIA will restate its support for passage of this measure to the appropriate Senate committee once the jurisdiction of this bill is determined.