Texas House Passes Major Alarm Industry Bill

Bill would place requirements on how alarm companies do business, alarm verification, false alarms and more


The Texas House of Representatives has passed a major bill that would update the state's code on the alarm industry, alarm verification, false alarms, alarm permitting and more.

Texas House Bill 2304 defines duties of alarm companies in terms of customer notification and would require company notify municipalities of new installations. The bill also clearly defines how municipalities can write their permitting laws and enact alarm ordinances.

The law promises to be a major watershed bill in the state of Texas, affecting system designers, dealers, installers, and those in the central station monitoring industry. According to Chip Bird, of Southwest Dispatch Center in Richardson, Texas, and a member of the Texas Burglar and Fire Alarm Association's board of directors, the Texas Senate may move fast on this bill. The Texas legislative session ends at the end of May, so there are roughly two weeks left for activity on the bill.

Read the bill's FULL TEXT below:

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By: Driver, et al., H.B. No. 2304

A BILL TO BE ENTITLED

AN ACT relating to the regulation of alarm systems and alarm systems companies; providing penalties.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:

SECTION 1. Section 214.194, Local Government Code, is amended to read as follows:

Sec. 214.194. [FEE FOR] MUNICIPAL PERMIT FEE GENERALLY.

(a) If a municipality adopts an ordinance that requires a person to pay an annual fee to obtain a permit from the municipality before the person may use an alarm system in the municipality, the fee shall be used for the general administration of this subchapter, including the provision of responses generally required to implement this subchapter other than specific responses to false alarms.

(b) A municipal permit fee imposed under this section may not exceed the rate of:

(1) $50 a year for a residential location; or

(2) $100 a year for a commercial location.

SECTION 2. The heading to Section 214.195, Local Government Code, is amended to read as follows:

Sec. 214.195. NONRENEWAL OR REVOCATION OF PERMIT AND TERMINATION OF MUNICIPAL RESPONSE; [AND] DISCRIMINATION PROHIBITED.

SECTION 3. Sections 214.195(a) and (d), Local Government Code, are amended to read as follows:

(a) Except as provided in Subsection (d) [of this section], a municipality may not terminate its law enforcement response to a residential or commercial permit holder because of excess false alarms if the false alarm fees are paid in full.

(d) A municipality may revoke or [set standards for systems to be permitted and may] refuse to renew the permit of an alarm system that has had eight or more false alarms during the preceding 12-month period [permit particular systems which in its discretion have a history of unreliability].

SECTION 4. Subchapter F, Chapter 214, Local Government Code, is amended by adding Section 214.1955 to read as follows:

Sec. 214.1955. MULTIUNIT HOUSING FACILITIES. (a) A municipality may not refuse to issue an alarm system permit for a residential location solely because the residential location is an individual residential unit located in a multiunit housing facility.

(b) In issuing an alarm system permit for an alarm installed in an individual residential unit of a multiunit housing facility, the municipality shall issue the permit to the person occupying the individual residential unit.

(c) A municipality may impose a penalty under Section 214.197 for the signaling of a false alarm on the premises of a multiunit housing facility for a facility other than an individual residential unit only if the permit holder is notified of:

(1) the date of the signaling of the false alarm;

(2) the address of the multiunit housing facility where the signaling of the false alarm occurred; and

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