CHICAGO — A new bill introduced this week in the Illinois legislature would authorize fire protection districts to operate fire alarm monitoring facilities and exempt such districts from anti-trust liability.
Titled “Fire District Antitrust Exemption, HB1301,” the bill would give jurisdictions the authority to “acquire, maintain and mandate the use” of its own monitoring center or a different entity approved by the district. Language in the bill would also allow districts to operate “a wireless radio network or other network connected to a remote station ... and establish reasonable fees in relation thereto.”
Introduced by Rep. Donald Moffitt (R), proponents of the legislation maintain the bill is necessary to improve fire department response times to alarm events, thus saving lives and property as well as promote firefighter safety.
The bill is staunchly opposed by the Illinois Electronic Security Association (IESA), Central Station Alarm Association (CSAA) and Electronic Security Association (ESA). The associations argue the bill would legitimize anti-competitive practices and threaten existing private monitoring businesses, IESA Executive Director Kevin Lehan tells SSI.
“If this passes, the result will be that instead of 20 small businesses competing in a market, one company will be selected to do all service and installations while the government claims the monitoring revenue. As such, many businesses will close and private sector jobs will be lost,” says Lehan, who contributes to SSI‘s “Monitoring Matters” column.
IESA is urging licensed installing security contractors throughout the state to contact their representatives and explain how the bill would adversely affect their livelihoods. The association prepared a fact sheet to explain its position and the negative implications it claims the industry will suffer if the bill is passed. To view the fact sheet, click here.
IESA is also organizing a “Legislative Day” in Springfield, Ill., scheduled to be held in the near future when the lawmakers are in session.
“Once we have the details finalized, we will be sharing this with Illinois alarm contractors and others involved in the industry,” Lehan says.