ALERT TO TEXAS DEALERS: Texas Changes Its Mind

© 2004 Door & Access Systems
Publish Date: Winter 2004
Author: Naomi Angel
Page 72

Texas Changes Its Mind

By Naomi R. Angel, DASMA Legal Counsel

On Tuesday, Nov. 30, Texas changed its mind.

As reported in the fall issue of Door & Access Systems, new provisions of Chapter 1702 of the Texas Occupations Code (also known as SB 1252) were to take effect on Jan. 1, 2005. That law required companies and installers of garage door or gate operator systems in Texas to be licensed.

Moratorium Ordered

On Nov. 30, after an intense, focused effort by an advisory committee of industry representatives, the chair of the Texas Department of Public Safety ordered a halt to enforcing this law against garage door or gate operator companies and installers. These parties typically do not install alarm systems or external monitoring systems or any other activities regulated by Chapter 1702.

The Texas Private Security Board (PSB) is the group charged with making the specific rules for implementing this law. In early December, the PSB posted a notice on its Web site that notified those engaged “in the business of installing garage door openers or electronic gate openers … (that) it is not necessary for you to be licensed or registered by the Department.”

We Spoke, They Listened

On Dec. 8, our industry committee met again with the PSB, and insisted on clearer language on this notice. The PSB agreed to allow our committee to prepare modifications, and the PSB subsequently accepted our suggested rewrite of the Web site statement. Check for the latest posting.

In the 2005 Texas legislative session, the language of the law is expected to be amended. The advisory committee has asked to be included in that drafting process.

We anticipate that the new amended language will make it clear that companies and installers of operators for gates and upward-acting commercial or residential garage doors will not be required to obtain licenses. We also expect the new language to apply to those who install accessories that are used only to activate the doors and gates. If, however, operators and accessories are connected to an alarm system, an external monitoring system, or a system that logs and scrutinizes ingress/egress, then licensure most probably will be required.

Get Your Money Back

If you have already applied for a license in Texas, you can get a refund, as long as you do not perform any other activities regulated by Chapter 1702. Just send a written statement to Cliff Grumbles, Manager of Private Security Board, Texas Department of Public Safety, Regulatory Licensing Service, P.O. Box 4143, MSC - 0242, Austin, TX 78765-7711.

Your letter should state that your company does not install gate or door operators that are connected to alarm systems or external monitoring systems. Request a refund of your application fee. Any FBI fingerprint fees, however, are nonrefundable.

United We Stand

Our industry advisory committee is made up of one representative from each of the associations affected by the law. These include Randy Oliver of IDA, Chuck Mogged of DASMA (with assistance from Terrance Hobbs, counsel for Overhead Door), Don Moerbe of the American Association of Automatic Door Manufacturers (AAADM), Robert Coffman of the American Fence Association (AFA), and myself. It has been rewarding to work with these excellent people.

From my perspective, I truly believe that the pressure we applied to avoid the inadvertent consequences of the law finally paid off. Our committee was united and relentless, and scores of Texas dealers supported our efforts by sending letters to the governor and other state officials. This is a great example of what we can do when our industry joins hands in a unified, cohesive effort.

This law had potential wide-reaching negative effects on our industry. Other states had already inquired about using the new Texas law as a model. Thanks to our combined efforts, companies and installers in Texas – and potentially elsewhere – have been saved from costly and senseless licensing and registration requirements.

This article is provided solely for informational purposes and does not constitute legal advice. If you have specific questions or concerns about a legal issue, consult your company’s legal counsel for guidance.