While your New Year's resolution may have been to avoid politics, completely turning a blind eye could hurt your security business. In 2018 alone there were 91 bills passed in the U.S. that the Electronic Security Association (ESA) marked as either medium or high priority for the security industry, and there are plenty more to come in 2019.

Chris Heaton, VP of advocacy and public affairs at the ESA, said that there are two different kinds of bills most likely to affect the security industry in 2019: those involving school security, and those involving occupational licensing. 

“We had about 13 bills that provide funding for some sort of infrastructure improvement to schools whether it’s for video surveillance, access control, alarm systems or other infrastructure improvements that can improve the safety structure of schools,” said Heaton. “Some bills articulate a specific amount to be spent on security infrastructure improvements, and of those that do, we’re looking at over half a billion dollars to be spent.”

Alabama, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, New Mexico, Pennsylvania and New Jersey are just some of the states passing bills that provide funding for school safety, according to Heaton. He’s currently working with his team to provide a comprehensive list for ESA members of what schools have received additional funding for school safety.

Regarding occupational licensing, Heaton said there are probably more than 20 states that filed a bill to reform occupational licensing boards. 

“A lot of this stems from the Supreme Court’s decision in the North Carolina dental examiner’s case in 2015, where there was no active supervision of the occupational licensing board in that state so the occupational licensing board was engaging in anti-trust activity,” said Heaton. “So we’re seeing bills now coming out to address that issue and put the reins on national occupation licensing boards, and of course we’re going to be monitoring those bills very closely.”

And while school security and occupational licensing are the two greatest concerns for the industry in Heaton’s opinion, he said to also watch out for other lesser known, but equally impactful bills. 

“One of the bills we’re looking at right now is a proposal by the electrical board in North Dakota to create a power limited technician’s license that would require 6,000 hours of apprenticeship in order to touch a low voltage circuit,” said Heaton. “While there’s grandfathering, imagine the barrier to employment in the industry.”

Keeping track of every bill passed in every state is almost impossible to do on your own, but an ESA membership could make it easy. The organization sends all of its members a weekly legislative update, and creates additional sources, like that upcoming list of schools receiving funding for safety infrastructure, that are exclusive to members. 

“The weekly report that I just published today had over 90 bills covering 17 issue areas — they run the gamut in terms of issue areas, and we set priority levels and list the bills by state,” said Heaton. “We also have a monthly government insider newsletter which gives a report on all the bills that have been moved or introduced in the last month.”

To become an ESA member, click here.