NASCO Year in Review
As the national leader and voice of the contract security industry, NASCO is constantly interacting with Congress, federal agencies, state legislators, regulators, the courts, and the media on a variety of industry related issues. NASCO also works closely with state associations, business groups, contractor organizations, and security organizations on mutual issues of concern.
2019 NASCO Year in Review
2019 was another busy year for NASCO and its members at the federal, state and local level governmental level and in numerous other fora of importance to contract security companies.
At the federal level, the signature legislative achievement of the year was the December 2019 introduction, by Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) of S.3012, the Private Security Officer Screening Improvement Act (PSOSIA). The legislation addresses a critical gap in criminal background screening of security officers. The bill enables employers of security officers to obtain previously authorized FBI background checks on their officers and applicants from a DOJ designated entity when such FBI checks are not available through the state of employment.
The PSOSIA amends a previous law that NASCO helped pass in 2004 (the Private Security Officer Employment Authorization Act) that while giving employers the authority to request FBI checks on applicants and officers, did not provide for a realistic way for employers to have those authorized checks conducted. The 2004 law was enacted with strong bi-partisan support, with two of the four original co-sponsors of that bill being Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.
While currently, many states do conduct FBI checks as part of the security officer licensing application process; nonetheless, some states do not license security officers, or only conduct state criminal checks, or only conduct FBI checks on certain types of officers (e.g. armed or contract only), and only a handful of states conduct FBI checks on officers once they are licensed.
Also at the Federal level, NASCO continued to work on a variety of issues related to the Federal Protective Service which maintains a 14,000 strong contract security officer force to protect federal properties. While FPS and its contractors don’t always see eye to eye, NASCO has built a strong relationship with FPS, and FPS credited NASCO’s support in the DHS decision in May 20119 to keep FPS in DHS after FPS was statutorily forced out of its current DHS home as part of a bill creating a new Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. Some on the Hill and elsewhere were trying to return FPS back to its original home in GSA – a move opposed by FPS and its contractors.
NASCO also worked in 2019 on the implementation of statutory changes made in the 2018 FAA Reauthorization that sought to bolster airport participation in the TSA Screening Partnership Program (SPP. The SPP enables an airport to replace its federal screeners with screeners from a qualified private screening company whose screening force must perform, by law, at a level equal to or greater than those screeners at the same size federal airport. Obviously, the SPP is a great option for airports who may have underperforming screeners. However, for a variety of reasons, this now 15-year old program has languished at TSA. The SPP language that was enacted makes the following positive changes. Airports were authorized to obtain comparative screener performance data, so they will be able to see where their screeners rank in performance against screeners at similarly sized airports. Stricter timelines were set for the program’s application and contract award processes. The ceiling for contractor bids were raised to the costs of federal screeners. And, airports were given a participating role in the SPP bid evaluation process.
Finally at the federal level in 2019, NASCO continued to work with law enforcement, emergency management and first responder associations as part of the DHS Emergency Services Sector Coordinating Council. NASCO always participated as member of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce National Security Task Force and the Security Industry Association’s D.C. Advisory Committee.
At the state level, NASCO was involved in several statutory and regulatory efforts. NASCO successfully resolved a problem with the Connecticut State Police’s implementation of a security officer temporary licensing law that was enacted in 2018. NASCO worked with the State of Nevada Regulatory Board on security officer training related legislation in Nevada and follow up efforts by the Board to work with industry to come up with additional training for security officers.
NASCO also worked with legislators in Oklahoma on a bill that would address significant delays in the state’s licensing process. These delays result in good security officer candidates, such as veterans, being forced to find employment elsewhere, and with it harder to hire new officers, it is much more difficult for security companies to meet client security needs.
NASCO, also for the sixth straight year, was the lead sponsor of the annual conference held by the International Association of Security and Investigative Regulators (IASIR) held in Baltimore in October 2019. Through its participation in IASIR, NASCO has established working relationships with security regulators in many states.
Also at the state level, NASCO continued to work with the John Jay College of Criminal Justice to update and improve the electronic database of State security officer licensing laws, regulations, and polices that John Jay created for NASCO in 2017.
Tracking and providing information to members on federal, state and local labor and employment developments and litigation also remained a key focus for NASCO in 2019. To keep its members informed and provide them with useful resources, NASCO is a member of the Littler Workplace Policy Institute and subscribes to additional labor and employment law monitoring and analysis services.
In addition, NASCO members heard from outside legal and employment experts and discussed various employment and legal topics affecting the industry at two NASCO “Legal Forums” held in conjunction with the NASCO CEO Roundtable in Fort Lauderdale in February 2019 and its Washington Summit in June 2019. The Roundtable and Summit also featured industry and market analysts, federal officials, members of Congress, political analysts and others.
Finally, in 2019, NASCO welcomed Per Mar Security and Diversified Protection Corporation to its membership ranks, and by the end of 2019, NASCO members employed over 450,000 security in the United States.