Homeland Security

Suggested State Legislation: This Act creates a Mine and Industrial Accident Rapid Response System; provides requirements for protective equipment in underground mines; provides for criminal penalties for the unauthorized removal of or tampering with certain protective equipment; provides for notification requirements in the event of an accident in or about any mine and imposing a civil administrative penalty for the failure to comply with such notification requirements; provides rule-making authority; and clarifies the responsibilities of county answering points.

Suggested State Legislation: This Act permits the governor to delay implementing the requirements of the Real ID Act until the federal Department of Homeland Security has issued regulations that the governor finds will adequately protect the interests of the citizens of the state.

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.

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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