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February 2007 Newsletter

The SBCA Regulatory Affairs Department recently launched its redesigned website.  The site provides more information and resources to assist satellite technicians and SBCA members with both current and pending rules and regulations.

One feature the SBCA hopes members take advantage of is the information on pending legislation at the state and local level.  This section lists each state and locality that has introduced legislation, the bill number and summary, and the SBCA’s position.

The website is also the platform for published materials.  The Regulatory Affairs Department has made it a priority to publish more resources for satellite technicians and anyone else interested in learning more about the satellite industry.  Most notable is the addition of one-pagers and briefing papers on key topics.

Other features of the website include a resource section that displays past press releases, newsletters, and information on the licensing database. 

State Legislation Concerning Electrical Licensing High

In January of this year, state houses resumed session.  The SBCA expects a steady amount of new licensing legislation for the electrical industry.  Currently, the introduced legislation does not affect the satellite and low-voltage industry.  Several states, including New Hampshire, Missouri and Iowa, are expected to introduce bills, similar in scope to what the SBCA fought against last session.

In 2006, the SBCA made it a priority to build alliances with other like-minded low-voltage associations and the organization enters this legislative session confident in their ability to lobby effectively for its membership. 

On the local level, the SBCA quickly focused on the City of Philadelphia when it introduced bill number 060959.  The legislation broadly groups all telecommunications technicians into one licensing category and would mandate unnecessary training and experience requirements for all satellite technicians.  The initial public hearing on this bill was postponed due to overwhelming opposition from trade associations and unions.  A second hearing has been scheduled for February 27.  The SBCA is watching this bill closely and has made it a top priority this legislative session.

To view legislation from the 2006 session please click here.

Grassroots Heroes: Keith Barnette

Sometimes all you have to do is ask, and ask again.  Keith Barnette found this was necessary when he looked to the State of Louisiana to amend their exam for certifying satellite technicians.

Barnette started on this issue because his trainees were passing the exam at a low rate, due to exam questions being based on obsolete material.  Barnette is the Southwest Regional Trainer for Directech SW in Jonesboro, Louisiana.  He teaches new Directech SW satellite technicians how to become installers.  When this problem continued, Barnette knew he had to do something to modernize the exam.

" It was so frustrating to see only a three to five percent pass rate for installers because the exam was not updated,” Barnette said.  “I knew it would be difficult to get the exam questions changed— you can’t just walk into a state office and get what you ask for— but I knew that I had to at least try and do something about it.”

After a period of waiting and making little progress, finally the State of Louisiana took notice.  “We were in an ongoing battle, and were getting nowhere.  Then, boom—we got headway, and things started to change,” Barnette explained.Motivated by his desire “to do better for my four little girls” he joined the satellite industry after working in cable for eight years.  The decision came when on a job converting cable to satellite.  Barnette joined Directech SW, and has been there for the past five years. “I saw that satellite communications is where the future of television was headed, and I thought I should just take a risk and go for it,” Barnette said.

Since joining the satellite industry, Barnette has been involved in grassroots activities with the SBCA’s Licensing Subcommittee to help change the Louisiana licensing exam.  Barnette and the SBCA collaborated on choosing exam questions for submission to the State of Louisiana Licensing Board for Contractors.  The hard work paid off.  Barnette and the SBCA were successful in convincing the Louisiana Licensing Board that the exam was outdated.  The state replaced approximately fifty percent of the old questions with the questions Barnette and the SBCA proposed.

Barnette also worked with the SBCA and the Louisiana Licensing Board to write the training manual and study guide for the new exam.  “The most exciting part is to know that I’m helping benefit our employees, our consumers,. and the satellite industry as a whole,” said Barnette.  “All this work is going towards something that will do some good to a lot of people.”

Simple Facts About OTARD

The OTARD rule of 1996 prohibits restrictions that:

  • Unreasonably delay or prevent installation, maintenance or use
  • Unreasonably increase the cost of installation maintenance or use
  • Preclude reception of an acceptable quality signal

Fun Fact About Washington, DC

  • The major industries of Washington, DC include Federal Government, and Tourism
  • Theses two are virtually the entire economic base of the city.

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