Homeland Security

Suggested State Legislation: This Act allows people in counties declared a disaster or under a state of emergency to refill current prescriptions under their health benefit plan without “refill too soon” limitations if their prescriptions were originally filled or refilled within a period 29 or days or less from the declaration of an emergency or disaster.

Suggested State legislation: This Act makes it a felony to knowingly transport, conceal or harbor an illegal alien. Anyone found in violation and convicted may receive up to one year in prison and/or a fine not less than $1,000.

Suggested State Legislation: This Act establishes penalties for knowingly employing an illegal alien. It defines “knowingly” as having actual knowledge that a person is an illegal alien or having a duty imposed by law to determine the immigration status of an illegal alien and failing to perform such duty. Violators can have their business license suspended. The Act also permits local governments in the state to enter into a written agreement with the United States Department of Homeland Security to help enforce federal immigration laws concerning investigating, detaining, and removing illegal aliens.

Suggested State Legislation: This Act creates a system of intrastate mutual aid between participating political subdivisions in the state. Each participant of this system recognizes that emergencies transcend political jurisdictional boundaries and that intergovernmental coordination is essential for the protection of lives and property and for best use of available assets. The system shall provide for mutual assistance among the participating political  subdivisions in the prevention of, response to, and recovery from, any disaster that results in a declaration of a local civil preparedness emergency in a participating political subdivision, subject to that participating political subdivision's criteria for declaration. The system shall provide for mutual cooperation among the participating subdivisions in conducting disaster-related exercises, testing or training activities.

BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED, that The Council of State Governments supports the passage of S. 513 and H.R. 869 which repeal Section 1076 of the 2006 National Defense Authorization Act.
 

More than a year has passed since the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, but the fallout continues. Three separate reports on the disaster from the U.S. House of Representatives, Senate and the White House have resulted in numerous criticisms, recommendations and requirements. Whether these reactive measures will result in a better prepared nation is yet to be determined. Underlying all of the challenges is the ongoing struggle between adequate funding and saving human life and property during a disaster. Given the recurring demands on state budgets as well as federal programs, this pressure shows no sign of abating. 

With continued threats of terrorism facing the country, states are struggling to maintain basic public safety programs while taking on the additional responsibility — and costs — of homeland security. The year 2002 produced a National Strategy for Homeland Security and legislation creating a new federal Department of Homeland Security, but little funding has been provided to support enhanced preparedness efforts by states. It will be important for states to think and plan regionally, utilize mutual aid and leverage limited resources to meet the challenge of making communities safe from terrorism and natural disasters.

The mission of emergency management has expanded in recent years beyond traditional disaster preparedness and response. A strengthened national program incorporating today’s all-hazards approach to emergency preparedness is needed if states are to meet the evolving challenges of overall public safety and domestic security. The challenge of terrorism preparedness, in particular, is to avoid creating a separate response mechanism for terrorist events, and to focus on enhancing the nation’s existing emergency-management system, which has been tested and proven effective in the nation’s largest disasters.

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