The Mayans predicted the end of the world today – we’ve seen some great illustrations regarding this prediction – the weather forecast of 1277 degrees, falling asteroids and of course, the question of what time zone will the end start in? Well, we’re all still here – and it’s not the end of the world, but it is the end of a year that has brought us a few ups and downs.
In 2012 we saw a variety of small business policies solidified by Congress to assist in growth such as the JOBS Act, and the NLRB had some issues delayed and overturned including the Poster Rule and Ambush Elections. But, we also saw an increase in localities introducing licensing legislation (luckily they were stopped, or re-drafted to protect integrators work in the low-voltage industry) – healthcare reform became even more of a reality, and taxes may be increasing for every tax payer very shortly – and not just for those earning $200,000 or more a year.
As hectic as 2012 was, 2013 will prove to be a very busy year in policies and regulations:
- Businesses, agencies and some in Congress are upset that the 2013 regulatory agenda has not been released and are predicting that the EPA, OSHA, and others will be reviewing regulations affecting your business.
- We expect quite a few areas of healthcare reform to be addressed, including additional fees that many businesses haven’t planned for that will create a burden of providing or not providing insurance. It will be a year of planning for 2014 and the benefits you will or won’t offer your employees.
- It is expected that the NLRB will be in full force working to put in place the strategies to help unions organize. With Michigan being the most recent state to join the Right to Work states – expect a long battle and legal actions galore taking place.
- While some in Congress seek a complete overhaul to the tax code, the first order of business is addressing the fiscal cliff. While there may be a short-term fix, expect a long-term battle in Congress and another set of policies you need to pay attention to both as an individual and a business.
- In 2012, there wasn’t much action on the state licensing front until March when the city of Cedar Rapids, IA, introduced a city ordinance that would have required licensing requirements for many of the integrators in the area due to some bad installs from out-of-towners. In August Omaha, NE, did nearly the same thing.
State & Local
- Cable companies are seeking their own version of licensure for installing security systems. Massachusetts, Oklahoma, Virginia, Michigan and Pennsylvania all introduced policies in 2012 that would provide a cable companies sales force to be licensed separately to install security systems – causing a differentiation from normal A/V installers requirements. AT&T, Comcast, Verizon and others have all been involved.
- Local licensing ordinances, like the one mentioned in Cedar Rapids, came very fast and city councils were trying to move the policies even quicker. We see this as a new trend that will be taking place more and more throughout 2013. Pay attention to your local electrical boards, city council agendas and let NSCA know if this is happening in your region. We can help you in stopping, delaying, or making sure the policy that is put in place does not affect your ability to conduct business. In both Cedar Rapids and Omaha, NSCA along with partners from other organizations were able to provide information to members who worked with the boards and city councils to draft language acceptable to everyone. In many cases, the boards and councils don’t even know all of the groups that should be involved, proving the point that the policymakers need to be better educated on these issues.
- In regards to state licensing, some states like Wyoming are already accepting pre-filed bills for the 2013 legislative sessions.
- Pay close attention to what is going on in healthcare.
2013 is already shaping up to be a busy year. With the recent events, you can expect school safety to become a priority – we must realize the significant impact systems integrators will have in providing solutions to address school safety issues. Other important issues in 2013 include prevailing wage, project labor agreements, labor issues in general – the list is long.
In the meantime, make sure you take the time to enjoy the holiday season. Find peace and comfort with your families and friends. Take time to rest up and get ready to hit the ground running in 2013!
Happy Holidays from the NSCA team!