Monday, November 2, 2009

Congressional Hearings Week of 11-02-09

While Congress is fast reaching the end of the Second Session, there are still new bills being introduced and Congressional Hearings being held. This week there are four hearings currently scheduled that look like they may be of interest to the chemical security community. Both Homeland Security Committees, the Rules Committee and the Committee on Science and Technology in the House will be conducting these hearings. Two of the hearings have been discussed previously. The Rules Committee hearing on Tuesday at 3:00 pm EST will establish the rule for the consideration of HR 2868, the newly renamed Chemical and Water Security Act of 2009. The Senate Homeland Security Committee will complete their business meeting on November 4th at 10:00 am EST; this will include the markup of S 1649, the Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Prevention and Preparedness Act of 2009, and HR 553, the Reducing Over-Classification Act of 2009 which I discussed last week. The Subcommittee on Emergency Communications, Preparedness and Response, of the House Homeland Security Committee will be marking up two bills affecting support for first responders. High-risk chemical facilities will normally rely heavily on first responders for major portions of their emergency response to terrorist attacks, so they should be very interested in federal support for such agencies. I haven’t seen one of the two bills they are marking up, First Responder Anti-Terrorism Resources Act, but it certainly sounds like it should fall into that category. This hearing will be held on November 3rd at 10:00 am EST. The final hearing of note is another unseen bill markup, this time by the House Science and Technology Committee’s Subcommittee on Technology and Innovation. They will be marking up the Cybersecurity Coordination and Awareness Act. Since this bill has not been submitted, there is no copy publicly available. If this has anything to do with the control system security, the chemical security community will certainly be interested, but even a purely IT security bill should be of some interest.

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