While 2020 was a challenging year for our industry, Security Industry Association (SIA) members relied upon innovation and ability to adapt in order to overcome various obstacles presented by COVID-19 and proved resilient in continuing to provide key products and services to help keep people safe and secure. Consistent with SIA’s core mission – to be a catalyst for success within the global security industry through information, insight and influence – SIA Government Relations worked throughout the year to advance policy priorities important to the industry that benefit SIA companies and employees, including several key federal legislative initiatives.
Top 5 SIA Legislative Successes in 2020 on Capitol Hill
- Increased funding for school safety grants. SIA advocated for increased funding for grants through the School Violence Prevention Program (SVPP) currently administered by the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services. Consequently, Congress increased SVPP grant funding to $53 million – a $3 million increase from FY20. Eligible school districts can continue to use such funds to install and integrate physical security measures.
- Robust funding for DHS-FEMA Nonprofit Security Grant Program. SIA supported Congress’s FY21 funding of $180 million – double the FY20 amount – to the FEMA Nonprofit Security Grant Program, which affords funding support for target hardening and other physical security enhancements to eligible nonprofit organizations that are at increased risk of terrorist attack.
- Enactment of the Developing Innovation and Growing the “Internet of Things” (DIGIT) Act, a longstanding SIA priority. Through the FY21 National Defense Authorization Act, SIA successfully advocated for incorporation of the DIGIT Act, which requires the U.S. Department of Commerce to convene a multi-stakeholder working group to promote U.S. innovation and leadership in the Internet of Things. SIA worked with the bill’s author, Sen. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), to ensure the security industry’s perspective and membership are included in the future working group.
- Preventing enactment of misguided measures seeking to ban government use of security-enhancing biometric technologies. SIA opposed two bills – S. 4084/H.R. 7365 – and several congressional amendment proposals that would have restricted government use of biometric technology and prohibited federal funds used to purchase or deploy facial recognition technology. No such measures were enacted in 2020.
- Elevating industry role as stakeholders in tech policy development. As a result of SIA’s continued advocacy and engagement with key congressional members, SIA was invited to testify in January before the House Oversight & Reform Committee to discuss how facial recognition is used in the commercial sector.