Alarming Legislation

The sounding of an alarm occurs when there's trouble in your house. Well according to some, there is the potential for trouble in the alarm business if a bill isn't looked at by the state senate. In Jackson this past week, legislation was passed in the House requiring workers in the alarm installation business to submit to criminal background checks, and it would allow for complete regulation of the industry.

Eddie Roberson owns an alarm installation business and says, "What this bill would do is you would have to be a licensed alarm installer. You would have to have identification on yourself and your vehicle. It would bring schooling into Mississippi for technicians to go to, to better educate us."

Sen. Billy Hewes from Gulfport says, "There are concerns that there aren't enough standards in effect to provide protection that people with criminal backgrounds don't go into the business."

Right now, nothing in Mississippi state law says you can't get out of prison tomorrow and be in the alarm installation business the next day. Without the bill, there could be felons installing and monitoring a system in your home. Thirty-eight states around the country have already passed legislation that would call for background checks and regulating the business in such a way that consumers are protected and systems are installed by trained professionals.

"These folks deal with people's livesSenator Hewes says. "They know what your codes are. They know a lot of personal information. They know when you come and go, so it's very important to provide some safeguards."

Eddie Roberson says, "It also would keep felons and other people out of this industry. It's becoming a real technology type industry and we just really feel like it would protect the consumer from any fraud or any loss of property."

The chairman of the committee that this bill will face has spoken negatively about it, even though it has gotten strong support from the State House and 38 other states in the country.