SIA Announces 2008 Legislative Agenda
Advocating for full federal funding to secure the nation's ports, rails and public transit systems are top priorities on the Security Industry Association's (SIA) 2008 Legislative Agenda. The 12-point plan includes advocacy in a range of new areas including agriculture, trade, education and healthcare.
"Ensuring the safety of our nation's critical infrastructure is the prevailing theme throughout our legislative agenda," said Richard Chace, executive director and CEO of the Security Industry Association. "SIA will work to secure funds for our ports, hospitals, schools, public transit systems and rails to buy the smartest, most effective security solutions possible."
Agenda highlights include:
- Ensuring Congress funds the FY09 Port Security Grants Program at $400 million. This program is used by port facilities to acquire TWIC card readers and make other much-needed security enhancements.
- Securing $3.3 billion authorized in the "Improving America's Security Act of 2007" for new public transit investments in access control, video surveillance, perimeter security and fire suppression solutions. With more than 34 million Americans taking public transportation each weekday, SIA is working to ensure that public transportation systems have the resources to prevent terrorist attacks such as those which occurred in London and Madrid.
- Advocating for $50 million in annual funding for the Securing Our Schools grant program and for passage of legislation (H.R. 1409) providing financial assistance to colleges and universities for smoke detectors, fire alarms and extinguishing systems.
- Collaborating with the International Association for Healthcare Security & Safety (IAHSS) on a legislative proposal to promote patient and facility security at more than 5,000 hospitals nationwide. SIA supports authorizing $500 million for hospitals to use for investments in access control, video surveillance, perimeter protection, locking devices and other security solutions.
- Securing $200 million in Environment Protection Agency grants to secure more than 16,000 wastewater facilities across the country vulnerable to terrorist attack.
- Positioning our industry to better advise the government on future directives like HSPD-12 and TWIC. SIA will seek legislation establishing a federal "physical security advisory committee" to counsel the White House and DHS on the potential impact of government directives.
- Working to ensure the federal tax code provides incentives for investment rather than imposing unfair burdens upon contractors. SIA supports the Agriculture Business Security Tax Credit Act of 2007. Today, agricultural pesticides and fertilizers, while used legitimately by many farmers and agribusinesses, can be used to manufacturer explosives that further terrorist acts. This initiative would provide a tax credit for agribusinesses that make access control and perimeter security investments.
- Reforming federal physical security training program to ensure that government end-users have the proper education and training to protect government facilities.
"This agenda will help security directors get the funding they need to protect their most valuable assets, their people and facilities," said Rob Hile, chairman of SIA's Government Relations Committee and vice president of business development at Adesta LLC.