PHOENIX — A new statewide licensing policy in Arizona makes it easier for alarm companies to conduct business throughout the state by eliminating required background checks in individual cities.
Signed by Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer on May 11, H.B. 2748 allows alarm company owners and agents to have a single criminal background check administered annually, plus submit to a one-time fingerprinting requirement. Previously, 22 municipalities mandated that alarm companies have separate licenses, with 13 cities requiring fingerprinting every year.
H.B. 2748 requires alarm technicians to complete an application, obtain a satisfactory criminal background check and pay a fee to the Board of Technical Registration (BTR). Upon approval, the license is valid for two years beginning Oct. 1. If businesses already have low-voltage licenses from the Registrar of Contractors (ROC), they will not have to file any additional paperwork.
Alarm companies must maintain their current city licenses until May 1, 2013 when BTR registration begins. By July 1, 2013, all firms must be licensed.
It took the Arizona Alarm Association (AzAA) about three years to get the legislation approved, AzAA President Maria Malice tells SSI.
“The first two years we did not make it through, we were held in committee — once in the Senate, once in the House. The bill that went forth to become a law has many changes from our first year,” she says.
In addition to association members, Malice credits the association’s lobbyist, Meghean Dugar, and bill sponsor, Rep. Amanda Reeve (R-Ariz.), who worked with Senator Frank Antenorri, for finally getting the bill passed.
For other associations seeking to obtain statewide alarm licensing, Malice recommends visiting different cities within the state to explain what the bill will accomplish.
“Make sure to include nonmembers and be sure to spread the word of what is happening and what’s in the bill as best as you can,” she says. “Even once you have done that, do not be surprised by those who say they never knew anything about the bill. Be prepared for industry personnel to come out against it.”
Malice also stresses the importance of having a backup plan if first attempts to get the bill passed prove to be unsuccessful. Pairing with a strong lobbyist and bill sponsor is very crucial to accomplish the task.
“If the bill sponsor is not engaged, you will not make it through,” Malice explains. “And remember, just because you have a lobbyist, it does not mean that you can sit back and do nothing. Legislators want to hear from the actual people that the law will affect, not just the paid hired guns. Lastly, be sure to engage the local League of Cities and Towns as well because you want them to support the bill, not speak out against it.”