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Government Affairs Update: Q1, 2018

Ed Wenck
Jan 31, 2018

CEDIA® has updates for our members on bills in New Jersey, California, and Oklahoma.



Darren Reaman, CEDIA’s Director of Government Affairs, is constantly keeping an eye on language in legislation that can adversely affect the industry. There’s already been some fairly important activity in three state legislatures in 2018: New Jersey, California, and Oklahoma.

Oklahoma

The Sooner State has a part-time legislative body that began its session on February 5, and two companion bills caught Reaman’s attention. House Bill 2935 and Senate Bill 1513 attempted to define electrical work as involving anything with a wire, including low-voltage applications. “Oklahoma is a state without a low-voltage license, and there is no low-voltage exemption currently,” says Reaman. “So the question we had was: How far is this new definition of electrical work going to be interpreted?”

Reaman contacted other industry associations and planned his face-time with legislators in Oklahoma City.

The result? “In both, sponsors submitted amendments with low voltage exemption language that includes class two and class three circuits — exempting that from any electrical licensing requirements.”

It’s a start, but Oklahoma’s session for 2018 runs until May. Reaman says, “We're working with other coalition partners — specifically AT&T and the Oklahoma Burglar and Fire Alarm Association — to make sure that they don't have consequence to our members.”

New Jersey

New Jersey — a state with a full-time, year-round legislature — is set to re-introduce a bill that Reaman’s been working on since 2014. “It hasn’t advanced, partly as a result of our efforts, but they’ve got a new Governor,” explains Reaman. NJ Assembly Bill 475 has problematic language regarding alarm licensing.

The issue? “They're expanding under the definition of alarm business. They're adding ‘or home automation and integration of these systems.’ And, keep in mind, the alarm license in New Jersey requires a four-year apprenticeship program.”


When state legislatures start hearing from small business owners, language often gets amended.



As is his custom, Reaman will ensure that CEDIA’s represented at hearings and in meetings with the bill’s sponsors and “in any committee hearings on either side of the house in Oklahoma as well.” Here’s where the grassroots member involvement in the Government Affairs department is key: When state legislatures start hearing from small business owners, language often gets amended.

“Obviously if CEDIA members can participate through the hearings and things like that, that's vital,” continues Reaman. “They bring a strong small-business perspective to the hearing. And that's valuable in any committee hearing I've ever been in. So, in any state, when something comes up, it's vital that members take the time to attend, because those couple hours in the hearing room can have a huge impact on how they do their business.”

California

An example of such an amendment: California Senate Bill 327, which was amended back in January 2018. The bill had language so broad that it made both manufacturers and retailers liable to disclose nearly every potential hack that could compromise anything from a Fitbit to a fridge. Since those who make and sell electronic devices aren’t psychic, CEDIA and a coalition of associations lobbied successfully to strike that troublesome language from the bill.

If you’d like to keep tabs on the progress the Government Affairs department is making, just follow cedia.net/government-affairs. Reaman’s also updated the licensing guide for home technology integrators, a CEDIA members-only benefit. Meanwhile, we’ll be in touch with Reaman regarding any changes to these and other bills as the info becomes available.

This post was updated with info from March 15, 2018.


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CEDIA blog posts are intended to provide general information and should not be regarded as legal opinions or advice.

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