Homeland Security

 
How prepared is the U.S. for disasters and emergencies? A new federal task force is looking at just that issue and hopes to make recommendations for improvement to Congress by this fall.
 

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that The Council of State Governments urges the Congress and the administration work with CSG’s members on developing alternatives to REAL ID, such as PASS ID, that will allow states to actively participate in the development and implementation of a more secure and sustainable DL/ID system.

NOW BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The Council of State Governments urges the Congress and the administration to work with CSG and CSG’s members as PASS ID moves through the legislative process to ensure, to the greatest extent possible, that the legislation includes increased privacy protections, minimizes the cost burden to states, and continues ongoing and substantive stakeholder coordination.

Economic uncertainty in January 2008 evolved into a full-blown recession by the year’s end, impacting everything in its wake, from state budgets to mortgages and from college endowments to car loans. American consumers dealt with rising food costs, plummeting home values and jobs cuts while riding a rollercoaster of fluctuating gas prices. The downturn has meant the loss of sales, income and property taxes, which could have serious ramifications for important state government functions such as emergency management and homeland security. Complicating the fiscal challenges is the first transition of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to a new administration. This has led to a debate over the continued placement of the Federal Emergency Management Agency within Homeland Security. Yet even as that discussion ensues, the most destructive hurricane to hit U.S. soil since 2005—Ike—and the November 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India, serve as reminders that an all-hazards approach to emergency preparedness and experienced leadership are the real answers to threats, whether they are natural or man-made.

Suggested State Legislation: Enactment of UUFDA harmonizes state and federal treatment of unsworn declarations. The Act alleviates foreign affiants' burden in providing important information for state proceedings, while at the same time helping to reduce congestion in U.S. consular offices and allowing U.S. consular officials to increase focus on core responsibilities.

CSG South

In response to dwindling federal homeland security funds, states have been forced to devise and implement a range of innovative programs to enhance their security and response capabilities. Except for some anecdotal information, to date, there is little comprehensive data on these programs. Therefore, an examination of certain innovative state programs is instructive to other states as they seek to maximize use of the federal homeland security grants awarded to them.

The first part of this report is an examination of the federal funding for state projects through the Homeland Security Grant Program from fiscal years 2002 to 2007. The second part examines the particular public safety repercussions resulting from diminished federal homeland security funding. The final section of this report is an analysis of the information received from states regarding innovative homeland security and emergency management programs enacted in recent years to contend with the cutbacks in federal funding levels.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that The Council of State Government urges appropriate, ongoing, and consistent federal homeland security funding; and

BE IT THEREFORE FURTHER RESOLVED that The Council of State Governments believes that federal funding for homeland security should be maintained at the current level or increased to address the current threats, as well as new and emerging threats, and the need to meet federal mandates; and

BE IT THEREFORE FURTHER RESOLVED that the traditional all hazards and first responder programs should continue to be funded.
 

Earlier this year, the National Homeland Security Consortium (NHSC) developed a white paper which contained recommendations designed to provide national policy guidance for both short and long-term strategic homeland security issues. The white paper, Protecting Americans in the 21st Century: Imperatives for the Homeland, represents an effort by various disciplines and professions to come together and acknowledge that homeland security is a shared responsibility between all levels of government, the private sector and citizens. Further, the white paper clarifies that these entities should be equal partners with the federal government in setting national goals and their supporting policies and procedures.

 

Suggested State Legislation: This Act establishes a program to help people whose family members are trapped, injured or awaiting rescue during an underground mine emergency.

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.

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