With help from a dedicated team of CEDIA members, the CEDIA Government Affairs team keeps industry businesses protected from harmful legislation by monitoring legislative and regulatory issues, developing public policy strategies, and driving grassroots participation.
As this summer comes to a close, we wanted to take the time to recap some important legislative matters. While some legislatures are year-round–and we’re never “in the clear”–most state legislatures have adjourned for the year and we can start to revisit the year that was.
In the Longhorn State, we’ve dealt with two bills, HB 2161 and HB 2162, that would have formalized a statewide license for camera systems work (in 2161) and also allowed municipalities to do the same (in 2162), in effect creating a “patchwork quilt” licensing situation.
Darren Reaman, director of government affairs, testified in April at the statehouse in Austin and made clear our objections to both bills. HB 2161 “died on the vine” before ever coming to a vote. HB 2162 was amended to a sizable degree, and we see very little threat remaining to it if it stays in its current version.
In late March, Darren and I traveled to Frankfort, Kentucky, to testify against a low-voltage license proposal by the Kentucky Department of Housing, Buildings, and Construction. CEDIA made clear that the regulation needed considerable revisions before it would properly represent the low-voltage industry. They heard our concerns and withdrew the proposed rule, announcing they would form a working group with interested parties to discuss other options.
Currently, New Jersey holds the lowest voltage exemption at 10 volts. We are still in the process of trying to put forward a bill that would either raise the voltage exemption level or at least carve out language allowing our industry to avoid having to get an electrician license for work we’ve done for years.
We’ve run into opposition from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, but we hope to come to a compromise that is satisfactory to all involved.
In addition to the 10-volt exemption, New Jersey made it more difficult to get the telecommunications exemption. We’re hoping to make the Garden State a friendlier place for the low-voltage community by getting something done.
Other Bills to Note
Indiana Senate Bill 430: This bill would establish a statewide electrical licensing board and require electrical contractors to be licensed. It didn’t move this session, but we’ll continue to gather intelligence and monitor the situation as the 2016 session approaches.
Maryland SB 616: This was also a bill concerning electrical licensing. While CEDIA, along with its allies, secured a licensing exemption for limited energy services and thus protected our interests, the bill was withdrawn in February.
Missouri HB 369 and Missouri SB 250: These bills would create the Missouri Electrical Industry Licensing Board and requisite electrical licenses. CEDIA is aggressively monitoring these bills to ensure that our occupational exemption in the Show-Me State stays in the legislation.
Oklahoma HB 1067: This bill initially included language that could have defined “home automation” systems as being subject to an alarm license. We thank those CEDIA members who reached out to us in January in response to our Legislative Alert, letting us know how harmful the bill would be to their businesses. The bill, which eventually was signed by the governor, was significantly amended and included no troublesome language.
NCSL Legislative Summit
This week Darren and I will attend the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) Legislative Summit in Seattle. The National Conference of State Legislatures is the bipartisan organization that serves the legislators and staffs of the states, commonwealths, and territories. NCSL provides opportunities for policymakers to exchange ideas. NCSL brings thousands of legislators and staff together for the Legislative Summit. The Legislative Summit provides more than 150 informative sessions and speakers on the most pressing issues.
Looking For Texas State Captain
We currently have CEDIA Grassroots Legislative Network Captains in 30 states, but our Texas State Captain had to resign, so we need a new one. If you are a home technology professional living in Texas and you care about protecting your business and the industry from harmful legislation, please let us know. Texas is a very large state with a sizable number of members, so we want to have someone in place that can help us if harmful legislation is introduced.
CEDIA is also looking for candidates in the following states: Minnesota, Washington, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Montana, and Louisiana. In addition, if you are interested in joining CEDIA’s Grassroots Legislative Network, learn more by visiting cedia.net. We want this to be as robust a network of volunteers as possible.
Nick McLain is CEDIA’s government affairs manager. Contact him at 317.328.4336 ext. 124 or by email at email@example.com.