In 2017, President Donald Trump signed into law the Power and Security Systems (PASS) Act (P.L. 115-78), capping a year-long effort led by SIA to preserve an important exemption from federal energy efficiency rules critical to the operation of security and fire alarm systems. The new law made the exemption essentially permanent by removing an expiration date of July 1, 2017, facing manufacturers and providing the U.S. Department of Energy with authority to retain the common-sense policy in any future updates to energy efficiency standards. SIA led a coalition of industry groups to initially secure the exemption through legislation enacted in 2011.
The tax overhaul signed into law by President Trump in 2017 (P.L. 115-97) provided key incentives for businesses to purchase fire and security systems. SIA led a coalition of 10 industry groups urging negotiators to accept the Senate-passed provision to expand eligibility for key building improvements under Section 179 of the IRS tax code (26 U.S. Code § 179). Since 2003, SIA advocated for allowing businesses to fully expense the cost of implementing safety and security measures. The new law permanently expands eligibility for these systems, which will significantly reduce the after-tax cost for many customers of adopting new and more effective security and fire protection systems. To help the industry understand the impact of this tax change, SIA produced a guide to the tax incentives, and it proved to be of high value to all in the industry – particularly to practitioners, manufacturers, integrators and consultants.
FEDERAL AGENCY ENGAGEMENT
SIA responded to the U.S. Trade Representative’s request for comment from industry as part of its review of U.S. commitments under the World Trade Organization’s Government Procurement Agreement (GPA) and the U.S. Trade Agreements Act (TAA), required by the Trump Administration’s “Buy American, Hire American” executive order. SIA joined other industry associations like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Information Technology Industry Council (ITI) in highlighting the benefits of these agreements. Specifically, SIA underscored their importance to ensuring U.S. manufacturers and security integrators can offer the most competitive technology products to the U.S. government and in emerging procurement markets around the world.
Additionally, SIA conducted industry outreach and relationship building efforts with new program offices and personnel at U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD), the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC), the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) and the White House.
GROWING INDUSTRY INFLUENCE
In November, SIA Government Relations Director Jake Parker represented SIA before the U.S. House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response and Communications. Participants in the hearing discussed DHS coordination with industry research and development activities.
SIA Government Relations Manager Joe Hoellerer testified before two state legislatures on legislation impacting SIA membership in 2017. Representing SIA before the Maryland House Judiciary Committee, Hoellerer testified alongside law enforcement witnesses supporting the responsible and effective use of facial recognition technology in criminal investigations. Before the California Assembly, SIA joined with other business in voicing concerns over the “Teddy Bear and Toaster Act,” which ultimately failed to advance. The bill sought to impose unnecessary and onerous requirements on electronics manufacturers through direct regulation of features and customer communications with respect to a wide array of devices capable of internet connectivity.
EDUCATION AND OUTREACH
In conjunction with the 2017 SIA GovSummit, SIA hosted a briefing on Capitol Hill in coordination with the School Safety Caucus to engage lawmakers on policy solutions that encourage school facility security improvements. The discussion included presentations from the Indiana Education and Homeland Security Departments as well as nonprofit organizations supporting enhanced school security measures.
In March, SIA co-hosted a briefing on Capitol Hill with the Document Security Alliance (DSA) and the Congressional Task Force on Identity Theft and Fraud, on the growing homeland security threat posed by counterfeit breeder documents to obtain fraudulent identities, featuring speakers from DHS and the FBI as well as Congressional Task Force Chairman Rep. David Young, R-Iowa.
SIA co-hosted a webinar with the British Security Industry Association (BSIA) providing an overview of vehicular attacks by terrorists around the world and their targets, the current public safety posture to address this threat, and the types of countermeasures available. Also discussed was how the public and private sectors can maximize the effectiveness of protections against vehicle-borne threats, the return on investment from both a safety and security standpoint, and policy solutions that could spur implementation.
In support of policy objectives, SIA joined forces with key organizations such as the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), Electronic Security Association (ESA), International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), Airports Council International (ACI), Information Technology Alliance for the Public Sector (ITAPS), School Superintendents Association (AASA), Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), and the Door and Hardware Institute (DHI), CompTIA, the Document Security Alliance (DSA), and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
SIA Guide to Navigating Federal Contracting Rules
SIA developed this federal contracting resource on the key issues to consider for companies contemplating contracting with the U.S. government, or as a subcontractor to a prime contractor where the project receives federal funds. As a new exclusive benefit for members, this reference tool is intended to be a starting point for addressing common questions about the process, highlighting key topics and considerations and providing links to additional resources.
Security Policy Brief
To help SIA members stay informed about state policies that affect their businesses—and SIA’s involvement in those issues—SIA Government Relations continued to produce the State Policy Digest in 2017, and we have now evolved this into a digital product titled Security Policy Brief that allows you to track current state legislative proposals, activities and trends impacting the electronic physical security industry. For access to this new tool, email SIA Manager of Government Relations Joe Hoellerer, firstname.lastname@example.org.
SIA Export Assistance Guide
The SIA Export Assistance Guide was created to assist SIA member companies exploring export opportunities or expanding their participation in trade. This guide provides a listing and helpful information concerning available export assistance programs offered by the federal government as well as a global directory of industry associations that aid in navigating the security market in a specific country or region.
SIA Government Summit
The 2017 SIA GovSummit included a record 295 participants and an impressive line-up of speakers including White House Senior Communications Advisor Mercedes Schlapp, Indiana Department of Homeland Security Director Bryan Langley, DHS Science and Technology Borders and Maritime Security Director Jon McEntee, GSA Law Enforcement and Security Branch Chief Kevin Mitchell, and GSA IT Schedule Director Jose Arietta.
Just prior to the SIA GovSummit, SIA hosted its third annual Capitol Hill Day, featuring more than 30 SIA members meeting with Members of Congress to discuss legislative issues impacting the security industry.