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Telecommunications Companies Seek Exemption from Iowa’s RME Law June 17, 2011

Posted by shawnpci in Fire Protection, Fire Systems, Iowa Alarm Association, Security Systems.
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The Iowa House recently passed and sent to the Iowa Senate H.F. 697 in an effort to break the stalemate over Iowa’s budget for the coming fiscal year that starts July 1st.    It is not clear how the Senate will resolve the many issues contained within the 588-page omnibus bill.  What is clear is an attempt by telecommunications companies to skirt Iowa’s fire extinguishing & alarm systems contractors and installers licensing law (Chapter 100C).  To see the bill click here.

Buried within the legislation are provisions (sections 670 – 671) that allow telecommunications companies to contract with a qualified individual to fulfill the duties of a responsible managing employee (RME).   Iowa law requires companies who offer fire extinguishing and/or alarm system services to be certified by the Iowa State Fire Marshal’s office and employ (not contract with) a qualified individual to be responsible for the management of the services provided.  Interestingly enough is Iowa’s ban on any qualified individual serving as a responsible managing employee for more than one employer.

It appears that this provision if allowed to pass with the rest of the legislation would give telecommunications companies an unfair advantage over certified contractors who must employ RMEs – not contract out their services.  Moreover, the safety and security of Iowa’s citizens may be undermined.  No assurance is provided that the contracted RME even resides within the state or is readily available to directly supervise the layout, installation or maintenance of fire and security related systems.

As one who is active in the industry and serves on the Iowa State Fire Marshal’s Advisory Board, I can’t support this provision to weaken laws designed to protect and secure Iowans.

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