Source: Sherman Publications

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From Lansing:a column by State Rep. Brad Jacobsen
Cutting red tape for MI residents

May 22, 2013

Our state has come a long way over the past few years, and part of our success has been from eliminating red tape that stands in the way of progress. Since 2011, the state has cut 1,200 unneeded regulations and rules as part of an ongoing mission to make Michigan a more job-friendly place to live. I'm extremely proud of this milestone, but we still have a long way to go in order to revitalize our state.

To continue these reforms, I recently introduced legislation removing the requirement that a homeowner obtain a building permit when having energy-saving equipment installed in their home. Another bill sponsored by one of my colleagues would eliminate the requirement that technicians be licensed when installing simple household devices. New technologies in our homes make life easier but current regulations can often make installation processes more expensive and time-consuming for Michigan taxpayers. I want to make sure that we can enjoy cutting-edge technology in our homes in both a safe and cost effective way.

Recent advancements to technology in our homes allow us to better protect against burglary and other hazards while making our homes more energy efficient. The cost of current regulations deters homeowners from making these positive changes. This has become a public safety issue as well; citizens who live in neighborhoods where they feel they need a home security system installed are waiting to do so because of some of these added costs. My legislation would eliminate these burdens for homeowners so they may update their homes with less frustration while keeping more money in their pockets.

This legislation also impacts monitoring systems including both temperature and lighting controls. In order for them to be altered or installed, contractors currently have to obtain a separate license which can take extra time and money. Most companies affected by this regulation already carry insurance, making additional oversight unnecessary. This legislation is a common-sense reform. There is no reason a licensed electrician should have to obtain an extra permit to install something as simple as a single dimmer switch into a home. Again, safety is the biggest factor here as well. My bill will allow these updates in the home to take place at a lower cost, but still ensure that it pertains only to low voltage devices that will not lead to a fire if installed improperly.

My legislation ends redundancies in a process that used to result in costly installations for homeowners and can deter many residents from making the investment. These bills will also further the progress this state has made as a job creator. By prohibiting a municipality from establishing or maintaining local licensing requirements for this work or from prohibiting a person registered as a system provider or licensed as security alarm system contractor from engaging in the work for which they are licensed, we give employers more room to hire qualified technicians. With less red tape, we can continue on the road to success and residents can accomplish goals quicker by avoiding senseless obstacles.

Brad Jacobsen is the state representative for the 46th District. He can be reached toll free at 855-REP-BRAD or