CEDIA® has updates for our members on bills in New Jersey, California, and Oklahoma.
Darren Reaman, CEDIA’s Director of Government Affairs, is working on the notifications he’s getting from the tracking system he uses to discover language in legislation that can adversely affect the industry. There’s important activity in three state legislatures at this early stage in 2018: New Jersey, California, and Oklahoma.
The Sooner State has a part-time legislative body that begins its session on February 5, and two companion bills have caught Reaman’s attention. House Bill 2935 and Senate Bill 1513 attempt 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 how far is this new definition of electrical work going to be interpreted?” Reaman’s contacting other industry associations and planning his face-time with legislators in Oklahoma City.
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 they 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 they take the time to attend, because those couple hours in the hearing room can have a huge impact on how they do their business.”
An example of such an amendment: California Senate Bill 327, which was just amended on January 8. 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 the link here
. Reaman’s also working on an updated version of 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.