Whoo! You’ll have to give me a second to catch my breath.
Darren Reaman, CEDIA Public Policy Director, warned me that the first few months of legislative season were a grind. He wasn’t kidding.
State legislatures around the country didn’t hesitate to get the ball rolling early. Three bills emerged as ones of particular concern.
New Jersey Alarm Licensing
The first, introduced in mid-January, is New Jersey Assembly Bill 1242. It would require anyone who designs, sells, installs, services, or maintains home automation systems, access control systems, intercom systems or closed circuit television systems to get an alarm license.
The sweeping definitions in the bill are problematic — by way of example, anyone who installs video cameras, IP cameras, monitors, etc. would be forced to get an alarm license (which would itself require a four-year apprenticeship program).
CEDIA engaged a Trenton-based lobbyist to help our efforts. However, the biggest lift came from CEDIA members. Bob Gullo of Electronics Design Group and Ryan Herd of 1 Sound Choice lent their expertise through the process and continue to do so. They joined Darren in an important stakeholder meeting with the bill’s proponents in an attempt to explain our position and objections.
CEDIA will meet with the bill sponsor soon and we’ll keep you updated on the outcome.
Maryland Electrical Licensing
Maryland Senate Bill 877 and Maryland House Bill 1119 were the other bills that caused some trepidation. These companion bills would phase cut out all local licensing and require anyone working in the electrical trade, including low-voltage contractors, to either be a master electrician or have one on-site at all times.
Along with a Maryland-based lobbyist, we’ve put together a coalition of organizations opposed to the bill and introduced amendment language to exempt low-voltage work from the electrical licensing requirements. Three home technology professionals – Edward Turner of Connected Home Systems, Steve Adams of Strategic Home Media, and Chad Shapiro of Sterling Sound & Vision – testified at legislative hearings on the bill, and we thank them very much for their help. It’s been critical, because while legislators listen to Darren and me on a bill’s possible effect, the most engaging testimony comes from those who would be most directly affected.
The bill sponsors heard and addressed our concerns in HB 1119, which passed in the House on Wednesday, March 26, with our suggested amendment language included. It is now in committee in the Senate. While the legislation still has a long way to go, these are positive steps and we greatly appreciate the sponsoring legislators including our clarifying amendment language.
Where You Come In
Besides those bills, Darren and I continue to monitor 275 bills in 42 states.
In a future blog post, I will introduce a re-organization of the CEDIA Grassroots Legislative Network. The new tiered approach will give our members options on their desired level of involvement, from receiving Government Affairs email updates to heading up our efforts in individual states.
I can’t emphasize enough how significant the testimony and expertise of the CEDIA members in New Jersey and Maryland are to our efforts there. In an ideal world, we want to have engaged members in every state, as part of the Grassroots Legislative Network, that we can tap for testimony at a hearing, or just a phone call or email to a legislator, when a bill threatens our industry in a state.
Thank you for your continuing support of CEDIA. Please join the Grassroots Legislative Network today. You can find more information at cedia.net/connect/government-affairs
, and, as always, you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
or Darren at email@example.com
Nick McLain is CEDIA's Public Policy & Membership Communications Manager. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org