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Senate Immigration Bill: On to the House

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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Fifteen days after the Senate passed S. 744—the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act—the House Republican caucus will hold a meeting to discuss immigration, just as the House prepares to tackle its own legislation, should it follow through on Speaker John Boehner’s plans to scrap the Senate bill. The meeting, which will be private, is slated for Wednesday, July 10. 

The Senate bill, which passed 68-32 on June 27, would earmark about $46 million to bolstering security on America's southern border over the next decade. The border security portion of the bill includes some large-scale provisions, most notably the installation of monitoring technology along the southern flank, the construction of an additional 700 miles of new—and higher—fencing, and a substantial increase in the number of Border Patrol agents.  

Also included in the sprawling piece of legislation—it’s nearly 2,000 pages in length—is a measure that would require foreign workers to carry biometrically verifiable ID cards, which include a photo and a fingerprint.

Last week I spoke to Marcus Dunn, director of government relations for the Security Industry Association, who said he was encouraged by this inclusion, and optimistic that even if the House does its own immigration bill, biometrics would remain part of the equation. 

In our conversation, Dunn made a strong point regarding technology-based measures included in mammoth—and often polarizing—pieces of legislation like the Senate Immigration bill. Such measures, he said, have the advantage of being less emotionally charged than, say, debates about paths to citizenship, employment implications and wages. So, should the House take its time crafting piecemeal immigration reform, it’s not unrealistic to imagine a technological solution preceding a policy one.

Testament to the relative emotional neutrality of some of the security measures can be found in the amendment package, proposed a day before the bill passed, by a pair of Republican Senators: Bob Corker, R-Tenn., and John Hoeven, R-N.D. Many of the aforementioned provisions were contained in their eleventh hour proposal, and several commentators have credited the amendment as a key reason the bill gained enough bipartisan support to pass. It doesn't seem like a stretch to say that the security portion of the bill was crucial in allowing the Senate to function as it's supposed to: like a political "cooling saucer," a chamber where cooler heads prevail and compromise can be struck. In an era defined by deep ideological fissures in Washington, these things cannot be taken for granted.

With political pressure mounting to get some kind of legislation passed, the meeting scheduled for Wednesday bears close watching. Will Speaker Boehner backtrack on his statements about the House doing its own legislation, or stand firm? Will the Senate bill be jettisoned, or does it have more support in the House than many think? For my part, I'll be looking for what lawmakers have to say about that $46 billion figure. Stay tuned...

As part of larger tax bill, new hope for Fire Sprinkler Incentive Act

Dalton says tax bill has promise in this Congress; FSIA yet to be introduced in House this year
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07/08/2013

PATTERSON, N.Y.—The Fire Sprinkler Incentive Act (FSIA) was introduced in the U.S. Senate in June, and after 10 years of waiting, the industry is hopeful Congress will approve it as part of an omnibus tax bill.

Greetings!

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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

For my “Monitor This!” debut, I’d like to use this space to introduce myself, now that I’ve completed my switch to associate editor at Security Systems News.

My name is Leif Kothe, and I’ve covered the security industry since September 2012, when I joined SSN as web editor. In that capacity, I covered—and learned about—most facets of the security industry, while also writing for other trade journals at United Publications, not all of them security-related. The position was as edifying as it was unfocused. As associate editor, I welcome the opportunity to zoom in on the central station side of things. And I am equally eager to cover the legislative topics of most relevance to the industry.

My wish is to make the transition as seamless as possible. In the interest of continuity, you'll find that we’ve kept many things the same. The blog has retained its title, it occupies the same spot on the homepage, and it will still cover topics germane to central station alarm monitoring.

With that said, I encourage those in the monitoring space not to hesitate to reach out to me, whether to offer news leads, or to simply introduce yourselves. In my brief time covering security, I’ve found the industry nothing but welcoming, and I look forward to exploring the industry further and hearing your stories in the process.

Dynamark acquires Ohio central station

Deal is part of expansion strategy to new markets
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07/02/2013

HAGERSTOWN, Md.—More than two years after re-entering the monitoring space, Dynamark’s resurgence continues with the acquisition of Security Services Center, a central station based in Dayton, Ohio.

Vivint to open new sales center in Washington state

The door-to-door company looks to diversify by growing inside sales 75 percent this year
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06/26/2013

PROVO, Utah—Home automation/home security giant Vivint is opening a new 400-employee sales center in Washington state, part of a move by the door-knocking company to diversify itself by increasing inside sales.

TycoIS sues ISC; N.J. integrator files counterclaim

Former SST employees Catagnus, Pichola and Richman at center of lawsuits that deal with trade secrets, non-compete agreements
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06/26/2013

TOMS RIVER, N.J.—Claims of trade secrets stolen, employees poached and counterclaims that Tyco is trying to run a much smaller competitor out of business fill two lawsuits—one filed by Tyco Integrated Security at the end of May and a counterclaim filed by Integrated Security & Communications on June 24.

More mobility for UCC with new central station automation

Company cites need for improved efficiencies, dealer apps
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06/26/2013

SAN ANTONIO—United Central Control is switching to SGS’ Stages for its central station automation, giving UCC dealers expanded access to mobile applications and improving efficiencies to reduce alarm-processing errors, company officials told Security Systems News.

GuardMe Security moves into North Carolina

It’s the fourth time the New Jersey-based home security/home automation provider has expanded in three months
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06/26/2013

OLD BRIDGE, N.J.—After recent expansions into the Midwest and Maine, GuardMe Security, based here, in June added North Carolina to the growing list of states where it is offering home security/home automation.

AT&T earns CSAA Five Diamond certification

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06/26/2013

DALLAS—AT&T, which launched its Digital Life home security/home automation platform in April, has received Five Diamond certification from the Central Station Alarm Association, the company announced this week.

Avista Capital completes Telular acquisition

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06/25/2013

NEW YORK and CHICAGO—Avista Capital Partners has completed the acquisition of Telular, according to a news release.

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