State and local policies have a profound impact on the use of technologies needed to secure hospitals, schools, mass transit systems, ports and other components of our nation’s critical infrastructure.

When state legislation restricts the use of biometrics and video surveillance or regulates the procurement process, both manufacturers and end-users are affected. Legislation passed in one state can also have a domino affect and result in the introduction of similar bills in neighboring states.

Take for example the “Student Biometric Info Act” (HB1559/SB1702) passed in 2007 by the Illinois legislature. This law regulates how biometric information can be used in state school systems. Arizona is currently considering a bill (SB1216) that would outlaw the use of biometric technology in schools outright. The California State Senate considered similar measures in relation to radio frequency identification or RFID technology.

Security Video Regulation

Last year, the Maryland legislature considered legislation (SB139) that would establish the Maryland Video Surveillance Camera Deployment Commission to regulate the placement of state owned surveillance cameras. Though the bill was defeated in a committee vote, it could have created challenges for buyers and sellers of video surveillance technologies.

Not all state legislation has negative industry implications.

Recently, separate bills authorized cooperative purchasing by local governments in New Jersey and Virginia. Hawaii currently has a bill that would achieve the same result. On the federal level, legislation extending cooperative purchasing to GSA’s Schedule 84 unanimously passed the House of Representatives in December 2007. It is currently pending in the U.S. Senate. GSA Schedule 84 includes law enforcement, firefighting and security products and services.

States can establish grant programs and allocate funding for security enhancements. For example, Colorado passed legislation in October 2007 establishing the School Security Infrastructure Grant Program. This state grant program can be used by schools to pay for improvements to security infrastructure.

The Security Industry Association (SIA) established an online 50-state legislative tracking resource to monitor state government activities affecting the development, use and sale of electronic security solutions. This service identifies and analyzes a bill’s prospects for passage.

States are considering action and laws that restrict the use of biometrics and video surveillance or regulate the procurement process. It impacts manufacturers and end-users.

Industry Gets Involved

Select legislation is vetted through SIA’s State and Local Policy Working Group. Chaired by Kathleen Carroll, director of government relations for HID Global, this working group serves as a forum for members to discuss pending state legislative proposals and to help determine SIA’s support or opposition.

According to Carroll, “It is imperative that we educate legislators at the local, state and federal level, about the impact their proposed policies will have on how we do business. Each member company has a voice that needs to be heard. Together, we have the power to impact the future of our industry.” 

To learn more about SIA’s State and Local Policy Working Group, 50-state legislative tracking resource or SIA’s advocacy efforts visit SIA online at www.siaonline.org/government, or sign up for our May 14 Webinar “A View from the States.” The Webinar features Nebraska’s Lt. Governor and Homeland Security Advisor, Rick Sheehy, discussing how state homeland security priorities impact federal policies.  

SIDEBAR: Daily News from SIA

The Security Industry Association has 15 channels of news from local to international. You can sign up from any and all the news services at www.siaonline.org. Go to SIA News Services and click on SIA Daily News.

News channels include business security, homeland security, computer developments, communications developments, school security, security technologies among other topics.