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On Thursday, April 11th, 2019 the House Committee on Urban Affairs held a hearing on HB538.

HB 538 would, if enacted, allow certain municipalities to provide alarm system services.

The bill was explained as applying to Memorial Villages that include 6 small villages west of Houston.

The Mayor and fire officials of Hedwig Village testified that time is being lost while central stations try to verify alarms. They said they have the resources to provide the monitoring.

Kelly Ryan testified that TBFAA does not want a municipality to enter into unnecessary competition with private industry especially when the municipalities has non legislative options to solve their problem. He stressed that the municipalities would not be subject to safety standards. He indicated that the municipalities  could imply a faster response if a customer switched to them.

Kelly relayed that TBFAA had offered a solution. The solution would be to change the municipal ordinance to require alarm companies to dispatch first and then start the verification process. He stated that the variety of technology would require increased costs to the municipalities.

Michael Jewel from AT&T testified that Highland Park providing monitoring has effectively freezed out private companies. He indicated that part of the proposal to speed up response is to have the municipalities implement ASAP to PSAP.  He said that if the municipalities want alarm companies to call before they verify they need to change the local ordinance to allow this.

View the hearing  Note: Consideration of the bill starts at 55:10