Oklahoma’s 58th Legislative Session will begin on Monday, Feb 1, 2021.  The Governor’s State of the State will take place at noon that day.  The OKBFAA Board and staff have been working hard on a variety of items that we need to make you aware of.  This newsletter is packed full of information.  Should you wish to provide input, have questions or wish to discuss any of these items, please reach out to our Legislative Affairs Committee Chair, Steven Brekel or our Executive Director and lobbyist, Danna Fowble.  

Several bills have been filed for 2021 Legislative Session.  Here is a recap of those bills:
  • HB 2468:  This is OKBFAA’s Third Party Bill.  We made revisions to the bill but those revisions have NOT been published.  Click HERE to see our REVISED BILL.  Thank you to all who provided input on this bill.  We have worked long and hard to determine if a bill was necessary.  We believe one is necessary to protect the company’s that make up our industry from paying fines to a municipality for green, yellow and red tagging of fire alarms, fire sprinklers, hood systems, etc. to file operational and deficient system reports at $15.00 per system, per building, per year.  The fees are assessed by an out of state, third (3rd party) to collect these reports for the OKC Fire Department.  While OKBFAA fully supports life safety and the proper filing of these reports, we believe these mandated fees are an overreach to ask the businesses of Oklahoma to assist the department for inadequate systems and staff to gather these reports.  Furthermore, the municipal laws hold the business owner ultimately responsible for these report filing fees.  See the article below for an article about how to pass on these fees to the building owner, per our conversations with OKC Fire Department.  We would like to publicly thank the OKC Fire Marshal’s office and the Compliance Engine for the many dialogue sessions we have had since last fall.  We are working on some Talking Points that you can use when visiting with your legislators about this bill and will share that next week.    
  • HB  1156:  This bill language IS NOT CORRECT.  Representative Mike Osburn, the bill author, is a member of the Occupational Licensing Advisory Committee and the intent of his bill is to re-evaluate and do away with the fees associated with the Alarm, Locksmith and Fire Sprinkler Training license fees. NOT the entire Alarm Act.  If a background check is the minimum fee requirement, we are working to ensure that is paid for by the company.  Additionally, we are working with ODOL to address this in Administrative Rules, where fines are outlined so that Rep. Osburn does not have to move forward with this bill.  
  • There are two bills that are almost identical to protect our industry and defining a Universal Licensing Act.  OKBFAA worked long hours starting early last year with Representative Kevin Wallace on HB 2873 We have gained support for this bill from most all trades and professional organization across Oklahoma.  While we appreciate Rep. Lepak for filing a similar bill, HB 1981, we will be working with him to support HB 2873 moving forward.  
  • There is an occupational certification bill that creates the Oklahoma Certification Opportunity Act.  We do not know much about this bill at this time but will be finding out more.  Click here to read SB 756.  
  • HB 2864A few years ago when OKBFAA amended the electrical code so that if the Alarm Act went away, our technicians would not have to obtain an electricians license to do what they do currently in the alarm, locksmith and fire sprinkler industry. This bill has been a work in progress since then with a task force made up of many from OKBFAA and the Electricians.  Due to the work electricians do on lighting and lumineers, we’ve been working to fix the challenges adding that language caused from a few years ago.   
  • HB 2252:  The Commissioner of Labor is seeking amendments to the Alarm Act to allow licenses to be approved by her in lieu of being able to conduct a meeting of the Alarm and Locksmith Advisory Committee.  The Governor’s Executive Order, while it has been extended, would not permanently allow the Commissioner to act on behalf of the Committee when a meeting cannot be called without this change.  For more information you can contact the Dept. of Labor.  
  • HB 2862:  We currently are vetting this bill out among our Legislative Affairs Committee and will report at a later date to determine if it is of concern or good for our industries.  If you have information or wish to provide feedback, please email us.  
  • HB 1035: creates the Fire Alarm Modification Act of 2020.  We have reached out to Rep. Mize to discuss what his intent is with this bill and have not received a response.  We will report information as it is obtained. 
In addition to these bills, we have been working with the Dept. of Labor on modifications to the Alarm Rules governing testing for residential fire.  This amendment was made earlier when sales testing was eliminated and it wasn’t corrected to also get rid of the test for residential fire, which provides for a license that does not exist.  Burg and Fire covers residential fire as well as residential and commercial burglar.  The Dept. of Labor has provided OKBFAA the language to review in advance and will be opening these rules changes up for public comment, as required prior to the Legislature reviewing and approving toward the end of 2021 Legislative Session. 

UPDATE

 

Area Code Overlay Approved for the Oklahoma 405 Area Code
 

Alarm and Security Service/Equipment Providers:  To ensure a continuing supply of telephone numbers, the new 572 area code will be added to the area currently served by 405.  The new 572 area code will serve the same geographic area currently served by the existing 405 area code which serves all or portions of 19 counties in the central part of the state which includes Oklahoma City, the state capital and state’s most populous city.

What is an area code overlay?
An overlay is the addition of another area code (572) to the same geographic region as an existing area code (405). An overlay does not require customers to change their existing area code.

How does this affect providers of alarm and security services and equipment?
As a result of the overlay, a new local dialing procedure requires callers to dial area code + telephone number.  Alarm and security services and equipment currently located in the 405 area code and programmed to dial only seven digits must be updated or reprogrammed to dial area code + telephone number or 1+area code +telephone number for all calls in the 405/572 area code. 

What will be the new dialing procedure?
To complete local calls, the new dialing procedure requires callers to dial area code + telephone number. This means that all calls in the 405 area code that are currently dialed with seven digits will need to be dialed using area code + telephone number. The same dialing procedure will apply to telephone numbers assigned to the new 572 area code.

When will the change begin?
Effective October 24, 2020, the new dialing procedures should be used whenever a call is placed from the 405 area code. If the caller forgets and dials just seven digits, calls will still be completed.

Beginning April 24, 2021, the new dialing procedure must be used, as described above. On and after this date, if callers do not use the new dialing procedure, calls will not complete.  A recording will instruct the caller to hang up and dial again including the area code.

Reprogramming of alarm equipment should be completed by April 24, 2021. 

To verify that equipment can complete calls to the new 572 area code, a special test number, 572-572-1572, will be in service beginning February 24, 2021 and it will remain active through June 24, 2021. 

Beginning May 24, 2021, new telephone lines or services may be assigned numbers using the new 572 area code. 

What will remain the same?

  • Telephone number, including current area code, will not change.
  • The price of a call, coverage area, or other rates and services will not change due to the overlay.
  • What is a local call now will remain a local call regardless of the number of digits dialed.
  • Emergency services can still dial just three digits to reach 911.
  • If 211, 311, 411, 511, 611, 711 or 811 are currently available in your community, these calls may still be dialed using just the three digits.

Who may you contact with questions?
Customers with questions regarding the dialing procedure change should be directed to their local service provider, or they can contact the Oklahoma Corporation Commission Public Utility Division Summer Services (open Monday-Friday, 8:00 am – 4:30 pm) 405-521-2331 

Sincerely,
Co-Chairs for the Oklahoma 405/572 Area Code Industry Team
Karen Riepenkroger
Sharon Poer