Texas House Passes Major Alarm Industry Bill

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


(3) the identification of the individual facility, if applicable, located on the multiunit housing facility premises where the signaling of the false alarm occurred.

SECTION 5. Section 214.197, Local Government Code, is amended to read as follows:

Sec. 214.197. PENALTIES FOR FALSE ALARMS [PENALTY LIMITATIONS]. [(a)] A municipality may [not] impose a penalty [or fee] for the signaling of a false alarm by a burglar alarm system if [unless] at least three [five] other false alarms have occurred during the preceding 12-month period. The amount of the penalty for the signaling of a false alarm as described by Section 214.196 may not exceed:

(1) $50, if the location has had more than three but fewer than six other false alarms in the preceding 12-month period;

(2) $75, if the location has had more than five but fewer than eight other false alarms in the preceding 12-month period; or

(3) $100, if the location has had eight or more other false alarms in the preceding 12-month period.

[(b) A penalty or fee imposed for a false alarm must be established by ordinance based on the type and level of emergency response provided. This fee may not exceed $50 in the case of the category of burglar alarms. The penalty or fee for a false alarm may not exceed the actual expenses incurred for the response.]

SECTION 6. Subchapter F, Chapter 214, Local Government Code, is amended by adding Sections 214.198-214.200 to read as follows:

Sec. 214.198. VERIFICATION. A municipality may require an alarm systems monitor to attempt to contact the occupant of the alarm system location twice before the municipality responds to the alarm signal.

Sec. 214.199. EXCEPTION OF MUNICIPALITY FROM ALARM SYSTEM RESPONSE.

(a) The governing body of a municipality may not adopt an ordinance providing that law enforcement personnel of the municipality will not respond to any alarm signal indicated by an alarm system in the municipality unless, before adopting the ordinance, the governing body of the municipality:

(1) makes reasonable efforts to notify permit holders of its intention to adopt the ordinance; and

(2) conducts a public hearing at which persons interested in the response of the municipality to alarm systems are given the opportunity to be heard.

(b) A municipality that adopts an ordinance under this section may not impose or collect any fine, fee, or penalty otherwise authorized by this subchapter.

Sec. 214.200. PRIORITY OR LEVEL OF RESPONSE NOT AFFECTED; LIABILITY OF MUNICIPALITY FOR NONRESPONSE. (a) Nothing in this subchapter:

(1) affects the priority or level of response provided by a municipality to a permitted location; or

(2) waives the governmental immunity provided by law for a municipality.

(b) A municipality that does not respond to an alarm signal is not liable for damages that may occur relating to the cause of the alarm signal.

SECTION 7. Subchapter L, Chapter 1702, Occupations Code, is amended by adding Sections 1702.286, 1702.287, and 1702.288 to read as follows:

Sec. 1702.286. DUTIES OF ALARM SYSTEMS COMPANY. (a) On the installation or activation of an alarm system, an alarm systems company shall distribute to the occupant of the alarm system location information summarizing:

(1) the applicable law relating to false alarms, including the potential for penalties and revocation or suspension of a permit;

(2) how to prevent false alarms; and

(3) how to operate the alarm system.

(b) An alarm systems company shall notify the municipality in which the alarm system is located of an installation or activation of an alarm system not later than the 30th day after the date of the installation or activation. The alarm systems company shall provide to the municipality:

(1) the alarm systems company name;

(2) the alarm systems company license number;

(3) the name of the occupant of the alarm system location;